Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
Earlier this week, a few of us participated in a podcast with Todd and Sandy over at Segway Today to address many questions from posters over at the chat.
Ray DeBruin, Mechanical Engineering Manager and Opel Project Lead at Segway, and Doug Field, CFO and VP of Design & Engineering blog from the Frankfurt Auto Show:
“I was pleased to see how the designers at Opel integrated their concepts into the show Segway PTs, especially with the design of the fender, rider mats and clever design of the folding leansteer frame. Also, as the Segway Mechanical Lead in the program, working directly with the lead mechanical engineers at Opel was an amazing experience. It was especially remarkable visiting the Opel design studio in Frankfurt and also traveling to the prototype studio with the engineers to see the show car coming together. It was an honor to witness the unveiling of the show car at the Frankfurt Auto Show and humbling to know that I had a part in Opel’s process of getting it there.” - Ray DeBruin.
Segway team members at the Frankfurt Auto Show (from left to right): Nicola Dallatana, Director of European Regulatory Affairs; Scott Waters, Director of Industrial Design; Jason Barton, VP of Global Sales; Robert Tozier, Director of Global Services; Ray DeBruin, Mechanical Engineering Manager; Doug Field, VP of Design & Engineering; Mike Gansler, Senior Princiapl Systems Engineer.
“When we started the project, I was frankly (and pleasantly) surprised to have GM, the largest automotive company in the world, approach Segway because they believed we had a piece in the puzzle of modern urban mobility. I was humbled that they would make a commitment to integrate our products into a very important concept car, from the very beginning.
GM did not tack two Segway PT’s onto the rear of the FlexTreme—to make this work, they had to relocate some key components like the fuel tank and, more significantly, the exhaust system associated with the range-extension IC engine. It was an extremely tight fit. We tried to do our part by taking out several inches in overall width and wheel diameter, then helping Opel’s engineers find a handlebar design that, when stowed, fit into the small space below the load floor. The result: when fully loaded, there is not a sign that the vehicle has been compromised to carry the Segway PT’s. The packaging is brilliant.
Ray also worked closely with Opel to make sure our product looked to be a cohesive part of the overall package. Besides matching colors, we even delivered custom-fabricated “bald” tires, which were then hand-carved at the studio to match the tread pattern on the FlexTreme’s aggressive, low rolling resistance 21” tires.
There’s quite a distance to cover before many of these concepts can become production-ready. Folding handlebars require a lot of stress analysis and testing to deal with the large forces exerted by a three-foot lever arm (the handlebars on the “show machines” needed to be reinforced after the first build). Storing the Segway PT’s in a vehicle will require many considerations by Opel engineers, such as crash safety and crush space, packaging space, weight distribution, and exhaust routing. But I’m pleased as can be to see this vision made real and demonstrated in front of the world through our partnership with Opel.” - Doug Field
The design treatment below demonstrates some of the materials that could potentially be used in the Segway PT that would be integrated into the Opel Concept.
Last night in Frankfurt, Germany General Motors Europe (GME) and Segway Inc. revealed a new concept for clean transportation. It’s called the Opel Flextreme and it contains two Segway PTs that load into the back cargo hold where they can be plugged in and charged.
We spend a lot of time thinking about where the Segway PT fits today, as well as what tomorrow will bring. Opel’s electric car is an excellent complement to the Segway PT – and vice versa. This combination of technology extends Segway’s vision for clean, urban transportation. Public transportation is great, but not an option for everyone, all of the time. The Opel Flextreme with integrated Segway PTs would allow one to use the most appropriate vehicle for each part of the journey. This all-in-one package of short- and long- distance transportation devices, would certainly take a load off the environment and make car-free city centers doable.
At GME’s Premiere Night, an exclusive media event, Segway CEO, Jim Norrod, took to the stage on one of the Segway PT prototypes to the delight of hundreds of people in the audience.
Segway watchers will notice that the prototypes featured in these photos are slightly different than the units currently available on the market. Segway and GME developers worked together to make special adjustments to the Segway PTs so they could load into the Flextreme. The tire diameter and track width were reduced to enable the prototypes to fit inside the Opel vehicle and the units have retractable handlebars that allow for more compact storage. Built into the Flex-Load cargo area are ramps used to load and unload the Segway PT prototypes.
You’re all wondering – when will Segway make that? We knew you’d ask, but just like the Flextreme car, it’s a concept. It’s still fun to collaborate with other teams and think about future products.
- The Segway Team
This week, two police officers made news for doing their jobs with an assist from their Segway PTs. In Chicago, Officer Thaddeus Martyka chased down a suspect who moments earlier had been involved in a shooting.
In Gaithersburg, MD, Sgt. Rudy Wagner arrested a man for possession of a controlled drug substance with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of school property, among other charges.
While not the first news reports of Segway PTs being instrumental in arrests, they highlight a trend away from simple stories of police adoption of the product and towards practical examples of its use. As more and more police and security agencies worldwide implement the Segway PT (over 525 and growing quickly!), you’re likely to see more stories like these. Eventually, we’d hope that the Segway PT becomes so common among police that it will be no more newsworthy than any other law enforcement tool.
But in the meantime..what other ways has the Segway PT helped you officers out there?