GM and Segway Join Forces to Redefine Personal Mobility
Project PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility)|
..... reality or pie-in-the-sky?
8th April, 2009
General Motors Corp. and Segway demonstrated, overnight, a new type
of vehicle that could change the way we move around in cities.
Dubbed Project P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), GM and Segway are developing an
electrically powered, two-seat prototype vehicle that has only two operational wheels. It could allow people to
travel around cities more quickly, safely, quietly and cleanly - and at a lower total cost. The vehicle also
enables design creativity, fashion, fun and social networking.
GM and Segway announced their collaboration, while demonstrating the Project P.U.M.A. prototype in New York
City Tuesday 7th April, 2009.
"Project P.U.M.A. represents a unique solution to moving about and interacting in cities, where more than
half of the world's people live," said Larry Burns, GM vice president of research and development, and
strategic planning. "Imagine small, nimble electric vehicles that know where other moving objects are and avoid
running into them. Now, connect those vehicles in an Internet-like web and you can greatly enhance the ability of
people to move through cities, find places to park and connect to their social and business networks."
Trends indicate that urbanisation is growing, and with that comes increased congestion and more competition for
parking. Cities around the world are actively looking for solutions to alleviate congestion and pollution. Project
P.U.M.A. addresses those concerns. It combines several technologies demonstrated by GM and Segway, including
electric drive and batteries; dynamic stabilisation (two-wheel balancing); all-electronic acceleration, steering
and braking; vehicle-to-vehicle communications; and autonomous driving and parking. Those technologies integrate
in Project P.U.M.A. to increase mobility freedom, while also enabling energy efficiency, zero emissions, enhanced
safety, seamless connectivity and reduced congestion in cities.
"We are excited to be working together to demonstrate a dramatically different approach to urban
mobility," said Jim Norrod, CEO of Segway Inc. "There's an emotional connection you get when using Segway
products. The Project P.U.M.A. 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
Project P.U.M.A. vehicles will also allow designers to provide new fashion trends for cars, and to focus on the
passion and emotion that people express through their vehicles while making solutions that anticipate the future
needs of urban customers.
The Project P.U.M.A. prototype vehicle integrates a lithium-ion battery, digital smart energy management,
two-wheel balancing, dual electric wheel motors, and a dockable user interface that allows off-board connectivity.
The result is an advanced and functional concept that demonstrates the capabilities of technology that exists
Built to carry two or more passengers, it can travel at speeds up to 56 km/h, with a range up to 56 km between
Since the introduction of the Segway Personal Transporter (PT), Segway has established itself as the leader in
the small electric vehicle space. Its approach to congestion and environmental challenges is balanced with a
strong understanding of the functional needs of its customers, enabling them to do more with less. Segway has
delivered more than 60,000 lithium-ion batteries to the market.
GM has been a leader in "connected vehicle" technologies since it introduced OnStar in 1996. Today, this
on-board communications package connects six million subscribers in North America to OnStar safety and security
services. GM has also pioneered vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications systems and transponder technology. These
and additional connected vehicle technologies could ultimately enable vehicles that don't crash and drive
"Imagine moving about cities in a vehicle fashioned to your taste, that's fun to drive and ride in, that
safely takes you where you want to go, and "connects" you to friends and family, while using clean, renewable
energy, producing zero vehicle tailpipe emissions, and without the stress of traffic jams," said Burns. "And
imagine doing this for one-fourth to one-third the cost of what you pay to own and operate today's automobile. This
is what Project P.U.M.A. is capable of delivering."