GM and Segway: Two Unlikely Candidates Join to Revolutionize Urban Transportation


PUMA prototype

PUMA prototype

2007 Opel Flextreme Concept

2007 Opel Flextreme Concept

Back in 2007, just before the International Motor Show (IAA), Segway Inc. and General Motors Europe announced a collaborative effort to create eco-friendly mobility. The Opel Flextreme concept car was designed to be fully equipped with integrated personal transportation vehicles. Fast forward to today, GM and Segway demonstrated what is being called a reinvention of urban transportation, Project P.U.M.A.

Project Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (P.U.M.A) is currently in the prototype vehicle stage and was demonstrated in New York City this morning. This new personal transportation vehicle is designed to show the future of what urban transportation could look like. The P.U.M.A would allow people to move around dense urban areas rapidly, safely, quietly and best of all in today’s eco-focused society—cleanly. The collaboration between GM and Segway is intended to address the growing concerns that come with the urbanization growth trends that we are seeing across the world which include: congestion, competition for parking and pollution.

PUMA prototype

PUMA prototype

"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." 

Now here at Allsmallcars.com, we like to talk about speed, power and overall performance, so how does the P.U.M.A. stack up? The prototype vehicle is designed to integrate 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 P.U.M.A. is also designed to carry up to two passengers and achieve speeds up to 35 miles per hour (56 kph), with a range up to 35 miles (56 km) between charges.

GM-Segway Project P.U.M.A.

GM-Segway Project P.U.M.A.

Bottom-line—Is anyone else having déjà vu of the Jetsons? As technology becomes more advanced I believe that we will have to cope with a significant change to the automobile as we know it today. Whether we end up cruising around in egg-like pods (akin to something out of a Sci-Fi movie from the ‘60s) or being driven by computers in bullet shaped people transporters, one thing is clear; transportation is getting cleaner and more urban friendly. It does make me wonder though, is the “driving” culture that transformed the U.S. in the ‘50s going to be come a thing of the past?

 

Want more information on the P.U.M.A, then roll on over to The Road Ahead at TheCarConnection.com.

Stay tuned to Allsmallcars.com for more on the latest small and mid-size car newsreviews and photos. Also, check out our partner sites Allcarselectric.com and Greencarreports.com. 

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