Would you accept free treats from these girls?

Fisherman’s Friend has been handing out thousands of free samples of their famous lozenges on the streets of Auckland this winter.

Product Promotions pitched their concept of a “boat on a Segway PT” to Segway New Zealand as a rough line art outline sketch earlier this year, and you can see what we came up with.

We think this is the best work we’ve done to date, and as far as we know this is the first PT boat idea ‘launched’ anywhere in the world (New Zealand can claim a 7+ year history packed with a lot of impressive Segway-world-firsts). Segway New Zealand designed, built and fitted the boats to the PTs in-house. The boat artwork was designed by one of Auckland’s outstanding creative talents. Vinyl colour printing, mounting to PVC foam sheets and cutting to shape was completed by the extraordinary team at Speedy Signs Takapuna.

“Flirty” and “Feisty” promo girls have been sailing the boats through a wide variety of events, beginning June and scheduled to finish in late-August. Look out for them around the CBD, in malls and at sports events such as rugby matches to get your free sample pack.

The original Fisherman’s Friend was first formulated in 1865. Today it is available in a variety of flavours, and date more than 6,000,000,000 lozenges have been sold to ease sore throats around the world.

See us at SpeedShow this weekend

UPDATED on 26 July with show photos after record show attendance of 23,000 people!

Come to the CRC SpeedShow this weekend (23-24 July) and see us at site #35. We’ll have all Segway Personal Transporter (PT) models for you to ride, and our genuine Ferrari-branded i2 on display.

Segway Racing Motoczysz won both 1st and 2nd in the TT Zero at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy 2011 – the most prestigious motorcycle competition in the world. Come and find out more about this success and what the future holds for electric motorbikes.

Segway PTs are not only on display at our site, they are being used throughout the show by others too. Wildcard Racing will be riding a Patroller model in their stunt ute performances on both days.

UPDATE: See the “Segway Fun Police” Patroller right in amongst the middle of two crowd-pleasing, smoking, rubber-burning, drifting V8 ute’s on YouTube from 1:14 to 1:30 here!

Ambulance EMT first aid staff will be patrolling through the crowd throughout the event on their red i180 PT that has been custom fitted with first-response equipment (see this previous post for more about this commercial application that has proven very successful).

And for the fourth year running, SpeedShow owner Keith Sharp will be using a Segway i2 during setup and during the show as his “most essential event management tool.”

A crowd of 20,000 is expected over the two days, and you can find more details of all there is to see here.

Politeness found as cause of Jimi Heseldon’s tragic accident

UK newspaper Mirror has reported the Coroner has released a final report on the tragic death of Jimi Heseldon, the late owner of Segway, Inc. (these excerpts have been corrected for fact):

A BUSINESSMAN’S good manners led to his death as he fell 42ft from a clifftop on his Segway, an inquest heard yesterday.

Jimi Heselden, 62, got into trouble as he reversed the scooter on a steep incline for dog walker Sean Christie to get past. But the tycoon – who was a part-owner of the UK Distributorship for Segways prior to purchasing the US-based company itself – wobbled then disappeared. Mr Christie found him face down and lifeless in the river below.

Coroner David Hinchliff said yesterday: “I think it’s probable – I think typical of Jimi and the type of man he was – he held back and waited as an act of courtesy to allow Mr Christie more room.

“In so doing, he’s attempted to reverse the Segway back. As a result of that he’s got into difficulty.”

Jimi had been riding a Segway x2 along a trail near his home by the River Wharfe, Boston Spa, West Yorks, last September. The Mirror goes on to say:

Mr Christie said he saw the businessman from 40ft to 50ft away as he moved a short distance backwards in a movement he assumed was to make room for him to pass. Mr Heselden was only a metre and a half from the 42ft drop and tree branches may have contributed to his loss of control, Leeds coroner’s court heard.

A postmortem found multiple injuries to his chest and spine. Experts found no fault with the Segway. West Yorkshire coroner Mr Hinchliff recorded a verdict of accidental death. Mr Heselden – worth an estimated £166million – was a philanthropist and owner of Hesco Bastion, which builds containers to protect troops. Camp Bastion in Afghanistan is named after his firm.

Former miner Mr Heselden was given an OBE for his services to the defence industry and gave more than £20million to charity.

Just prior to his death Jimi had arranged to donate 1,000 Segway PTs to Segs4Vets, a US charity that gives PTs to injured and disabled veterans of American overseas wars on their return home. The Segway PT has been widely adopted as the mobility device of choice by people with a very wide range of mobility impairments. Unlike mobility scooters and power chairs, Segway PT users get to remain standing, healthy and strong, look the world in the eye, and they can take the compact and light PT with them just about anywhere they want to go.

FIRST Security upgrades Segway Patrollers at DB Breweries and Sylvia Park

FIRST Security operates the largest fleet of Segway Patrollers deployed in New Zealand.

Their guards use Patrollers at shopping malls, universities and manufacturing companies all around the country. This week, FIRST upgraded the Patroller used on the large DB Breweries complex in Auckland from an i2 to an x2 configuration. While much of this property is sealed in concrete or tarmac, about one third of the perimeter route is through a grassy paddock that holds cooling ponds. Ducks nest on these ponds, and goats are kept in the paddock to keep the grass down, and this results in a slippery environment that has proven unsuitable for the i2 – even after fitting the i2 with high-traction tyres. The Segway x2 offers greater ground clearance and large ATV tyres that deliver incredible grip.

Sylvia Park is New Zealand’s largest shopping mall, and over the last few years the Segway i2 based there has proven invaluable. For example, within the first month of deployment it achieved NZ’s first Segway-assisted arrest (ask for a copy of our Case Study describing how it was the key to apprehending two professional shoplifters). This week the i2 was upgraded to Patroller spec, adding the LeanSteer Frame with Optic White SECURITY shields to increase visibility and presence.

UK EN-V…and police everywhere on Segway Patrollers

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.

Marathon Robotics release more ‘enemies’ into field

US Marines are using Australian Segway robots dressed up as Taliban for target practice.

Marathon Robotics have launched new versions of their armoured ‘Rovers’ which feature mannequins atop self-guided Segway RMP 200 models, and now RMP 400 models too. The ability of these remote control targets to move unpredictably in a way that no other target can offers more realistic training to soldiers. For example, when one is shot, the others are programmed to scatter and head for cover. Some Rovers can be dressed up as insurgents and others as civilians, with them all moving about and amongst each other in a variety of ‘real world’ environments.

The RMP 200 versions glide effortlessly through mock villages and in and out of buildings, while the RMP 400 and the ATV version of the RMP 200 race through fields and dart behind trees and hills.

The Military Times has a story here that features a video of the the robots in action being used as live fire targets.

For more background on this innovative use of the  the Segway Robotic Mobility Platforms see “The Robots Are Coming” (2009) and “Aussie (Segway) Robots Invade USA” (2010).

Marathon Robotics is an excellent example of use of the Segway RMP by an innovative Australian company. The RMP provided an easy-to-program off-the-shelf platform on which to build a new idea. Marathon Robotics was formed by three PhD students from University of Sydney.

While New Zealand doesn’t really ‘do’ military R&D, there are other areas where we have active research projects – some of which will lend themselves to the RMP.

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