Segway is making its second attempt at a two-wheeled personal transport device--this time, with a little help from General Motors. The two companies will announce at 1 PM EST today that they are working on Project P.U.M.A (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), a two-wheeled, two-seat electric vehicle designed to " change the way we move around in cities."
GM and Segway's 300-pound prototype, scheduled to be released in 2012, contains a lithium-ion battery, digital smart energy management, dual electric wheel motors, and a dockable user interface for off-board capability.
The PUMA's communications network could potentially allow vehicles to interact with each other and regulate traffic flow. Since the vehicle would likely drive itself with a transponder and GPS system, it wouldn't need air bags or other safety devices, though GM plans on installing seat belts just in case. With a top speed of 35 MPH and a range of 35 miles per charge, the PUMA will definitely be a short-range vehicle.
The two companies haven't released a selling price for PUMA, but claim that it will be one-third to one-quarter of the price of a traditional vehicle--if it is launched commercially.
Can the PUMA save GM from financial ruin? Will it be significantly different from the Segway Personal Transporter? Stay tuned for the PUMA's official unveiling later this afternoon.