P.U.M.A Segway and GM team Up
This one sounds kinda funny for a partnership, but it’s real. General Motors (GM) and Segway have partnered up to develop a new urban transportation device providing personal mobility. This partnership is a result of 18 month collaboration to project Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (P.U.M.A) The P.U.M.A. has a lot of common ground with the Segway Personal Transporter.
P.U.M.A. features an all-electric powertrain, plus a side-by-side two-wheel layout. Like the Segway, it uses dynamic stabilization technology to keep it upright and balanced.Where P.U.M.A. pushes ahead is in practicality, usability and safety. Unlike other personal mobility devices such as Toyota’s i-Unit or i-Real, P.U.M.A. accommodates two passengers in a pod-like capsule that’s shielded from the elements (as pictured, this early-development prototype doesn’t have the extra bodywork). It also features seats, seatbelts and a safety cage. Thanks to a more sophisticated electric powertrain and battery pack, its top speed is 56 km/h, and it can travel up to 56 km/h between charges
P.U.M.A. also boasts a few other technologies including a self-parking function and the ability to hook up to a network capable of connecting and communicating with other vehicles. In addition to allowing the driver to keep in touch with friends and family on the go, P.U.M.A. is able to share information about parking spots and local businesses. GM hopes to apply its vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication system which would allow for autonomous driving and the elimination of accidents.
Now what about cost? P.U.M.A. would need to be affordable to appeal its market. GM believes it can get the vehicle to market quickly and at a price that’s affordable to consumers.
Larry Burns, GM’s vice-president of Research & Development, says the vehicle could cost as little as one-third to one-quarter of the cost of a conventional automobile.