CES 2020 will see a whole new take on personal transport with the Segway S-Pod. Reminiscent of the hover chairs last seen in Wall-E, what problem does the S-Pod solve?
Owned by Chinese firm Ninebot since 2015, Segway is best known for its Segway Personal Transporter (PT).
Segway has developed a lot of new technology since its original PTs were launched in 2001, under both the Segway Inc and Segway-Ninebot branding. The balancing technology has been incorporated into e-Skates, robots and even a Segway go-kart!
The design behind the self-balancing system is really interesting but, as yet, I don’t think Segways have really taken off. We see them most often in city tours and in commercial use, rather than as a mainstream alternative to daily transportation.
Segway machines incorporate gyroscopic and acceleration sensors. These combine with the electric drive system and steering system to create ‘dynamic stabilisation’. Basically, the PT reacts to your movements and the terrain to keep you upright.
— Segway Inc. (@SegwayInc) January 3, 2020
At CES 2020 Segway will launch something new; the Segway S-Pod. This really does look uncannily like the hover chairs in Pixar’s Wall-E. The company, however, says this was inspired by the gyrosphere from Jurrasic World.
As with a lot of new tech, my question is – what problems does this solve? The S-Pod uses the same gyroscopic technology as the earlier Segway but is controlled by a joystick.
The S-Pod is too large to be suitable for cycle lanes, and many pedestrian areas. It can travel up to 24mph, so is pretty speedy but not fast enough to be used in a motoring environment. So what can it be used for?
Segway suggest it is best suited to ‘enclosed campuses such as airports, theme parks and malls‘.
I’d guess that an S-Pod is a lot less bulky than the electric scooters available to hire at the bigger theme parks. The clever thing is the self-balancing nature of the S-Pod; the trademark technology of all Segway products.
Segway at CES 2020
The S-Pod is far from the only new product Segway are showcasing at CES. They have a line-up of new self-balancing vehicles called ‘beyond the last mile transportation solutions‘.
There are five different model types of Ninebot eScooter, with choices of speed and range options. The highest performing model is the E200P which can travel at 62.1mph top speed and has a range of 124 miles. The Ninebot eScooter has ABS front and rear double disc breaks and connects with the Segway-Ninebot app.
Another new product coming to CES is the Ninebot eMoped, a smart electric bike than can be used as either a moped or a scooter.
With a bit more focus on recreation, Segway are also launching an e-dirt bike, in models X260 and X160, and the Segway SSV-Villian which is the flagship of the Segway Powersports series.
Segways says ‘with world-renowned intellectual property, Segway-Ninebot will create more products that will lead the users and the entire industry into the future‘.
The product to look out for? The Ninebot KickScooter Air T15. This kick scooter is a CES 2020 Innovation Award honoree and promises to be the ‘most compact, lightweight, and energy-efficient kick scooter ever introduced to navigate a city environment‘.
What do you think of the S-Pod? Can you think of any new applications for Segway’s technology?
We’ll bring you all the news from the CES convention as it happens – stay tuned!