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.