General Motor’s EN-V two-seat, two-wheeled “bubble car” is to be built in Britain for the EU market, once mass production begins, according to senior GM executives. The BBC offers up a detailed hands-on drive and review, as does Expert Reviews here.
Using technology built by Segway, Inc. the EN-V (pronounced “envy”) was first unveiled as the P.U.M.A concept in New York in 2009, with the EN-V concepts first shown last year at the World Expo in Shanghai.
It is rumoured that the EN-V will be used in the Olympic Village during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The EN-V can operate in a driverless mode in such an environment, as a kind of automated taxi. Some US states have recently updated legislation to permit the use of driverless cars on some roads in that country, and similar changes are expected to be made in EU.
While it may be a few years before we see the EN-V here in New Zealand, the Segway Personal Transporter (PT) is available right now. The PT is useful in many roles, and there are special models for Golf and Patrol applications.
New Zealand policemen have been overheard expressing “envy” of their overseas equivalents where the Segway Patroller has been widely adopted (worldwide, more than 10,000 police and security officers use PTs every day). Officers on Segway Patrollers cover three times the distance (and nine times the area) in the same time as officers on foot. Alas, New Zealand’s police force continues to miss out on the benefits of deploying the Segway Patroller, despite the obvious benefits and the additional needs of the approaching Rugby World Cup.
Contrast this with USA, where officers on Segway Patrollers are a common sight in big cities, tourist towns and airports. As the recession continues, the Segway Patoller has emerged as the preferred solution to increase presence of a limited number of officers, even in smaller towns. For example, the town of Fort Smith, Arkansas (population 86,000) has just purchased six Patrollers:
The six patrollers will cost $44,368.58 and will be paid for out of the State Asset Forfeiture account, the funds of which come from the confiscated valuables of convicted criminals.
According to a police department memo, officers will use the Segway Patrollers mainly for “special events, downtown patrols, meter enforcement, and airport patrol.” The patrollers are prized for their visibility and easy maneuverability.
Two other small US towns that have just purchased 6 and 3 Segway Patrollers, respectively, are Hawthorne and Deadwood.
Further northwards and across the border, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have exchanged four legs for two wheels in the city of Red Deer, Alberta. Here, the first deployment of Mounties on PTs instead of steeds is underway. They have selected the x2 model, which can transverse winter snow and ice with ease.