Segway: End of the road for the much-hyped two-wheeler
Segway is finishing production on its original two-wheeled vehicle, which was popular with city tour guides and some police forces, but not the public.
Launched in 2001, the well-established self-balancing vehicle has promised to revolutionize personal transportation.
The Segway, invented by the American engineer Dean Kamen, debuted with a lot of fanfare, but struggled to make a profit.
The accidents did not help with the Segway’s popularity and the company was purchased by Chinese rival Ninebot in 2015.
Produced at a factory in New Hampshire, the United States, Segway Personal Transporter production will end on July 15.
Announcing the news, Segway president Judy Cai said, “In its first decade, the Segway PT has become a staple in security and law enforcement, considered an effective and efficient personal vehicle.”
However, in the history of nearly two decades the vehicle has also been the subject of high-profile derisions and collisions, as well as a tragic death.
In 2003, then-U.S. President George W. Bush retired from a Segway to his parents’ summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
The incident followed the use of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Segway to turn around his office while his Achilles tendon was ringing.
The Segway was also a comic vehicle, literally, in the Hollywood film Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
In the film, actor and comedian Kevin James played a security guard who patrolled a mall on a Segway with great comic effect.
In 2015, while celebrating his fourth consecutive world title at 200 meters, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was hit by a cameraman on a Segway.
No serious damage was done and the legendary athlete quickly got to his feet and continued his victory lap.
In January of this year, Segway’s prototype wheelchair crashed during a demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
The S-Pod – a self-balancing electric wheelchair – was being tested by a journalist. The pilot had accelerated the vehicle before accidentally crashing into a wall.
The Segway was also the center of a tragic accident when the owner of the company’s self-made millionaire died after falling off a cliff in the UK while driving one of his company’s motorized scooters.
Jimi Heselden crashed into the Wharfe River while using his Segway on his West Yorkshire estate just 10 months after the company’s purchase in 2009.
The investigation into the death of Mr. Heselden learned that he died of a “courtesy” while trying to make way for a dog walker.