Tuesday, April 07, 2009

GM-Segway PUMA: It’s that urban mobility thing again…


The GM-Segway PUMA project. Revolutionising urban mobility...

Pics: AutoblogGreen

Okay, so it looks more like a high-tech motorised wheelchair rather than a motorcycle, but it does have two wheels and it can seat two people, so maybe the PUMA has a place on Faster and Faster after all? PUMA – Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility – is a joint project taken up by General Motors and Segway and the aim is to build a vehicle that will change the way we move around in cities. Of course, we’ve all heard that one before…

Anyway, the PUMA is a working concept that was showcased in New York city today. It’s powered by lithium-ion batteries, is self-balancing and features by-wire tech for acceleration, steering and braking. The PUMA is also fitted with vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology, is Web-enabled and if you’re feeling particularly lazy, the thing will even drive and park itself.

‘We are excited to be working together to demonstrate a dramatically different approach to urban mobility,’ says Jim Norrod, CEO of Segway Inc. ‘The Project PUMA prototype vehicle embodies this through the combination of advanced technologies that Segway and GM bring to the table to complete the connection between the rider, environment, and others,’ he adds.

The GM-Segway PUMA can travel up to 56km on a single charge, will do a top speed of about 56km/h and can carry two people. Of course, it’s still a concept (albeit one that works…) and production reality may be far off yet. Still, this does seem to be the sort of thing we’ll all be riding around in, ten years from now…


The GM-Segway PUMA in action...

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