When inventor Dean Kamen revealed the first Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) to the world almost a decade ago, one of the many economic benefits predicted for this technology was vastly improved efficiency for people travelling distances of a few hundred meters up to a few kilometers. Examples given in 2002 included mail delivery and meter reading, and New Zealand was to become one of the first places to deploy Segway PTs in these areas, after the US.
Today, a division of NZ Post (Datamail/Converga at Auckland Hospital) and the University of Canterbury have been benefiting from tripled efficiency of mail delivery by using PTs for years (read about it in Case Study: Mail Delivery at Auckland Hospital & Canterbury University). Our next case study will be about a contract meter reader in the South Island that triples the number of meters read per day, all at reduced cost compared with the previous walk-drive combination. These are but two of many dozens of Segway PT deployments by Kiwi businesses.
A highly visible example is fast food delivery. To date, Segway PTs are being used at four locations around Auckland city. The newest is California Burrito located in Commerce Street in the Auckland CBD. They began delivering hot food on a Segway PT in August 2011. Demand for deliveries is increasing by the day, and they are planning to add a second PT next month. This is the same response that Sal’s Pizza discovered when they pioneered pizza delivery on PTs in 2009. Today they operate five Segway PTs spread across their City, K’Rd and Takapuna stores (see our two previous posts about this business here and here).
What each of these innovative Kiwi businesses have shown is that the Segway PT offers a better, lower-cost solution than bicycles, motorbikes or cars when it comes to fast food delivery in high density areas. The lower the cost, the greater the economic benefit – and the higher the standard of living that Kiwis get to enjoy. The Segway PT is 11 times more efficient than the average car, and faces none of the issues and dangers that road traffic faces – especially during busy times that coincide with rush hour.
California Burrito have branded their Segway i2 using discs on the wheels. Self-adhesive labels affixed to the inner side of a disc of perspex attached to each wheel – providing eye-catching identification.
In addition to the standard tools that come with every Segway PT, Segway New Zealand has provided a customised toolkit to California Burrito to ensure their staff can deal with the rare-but-inevitable case of a flat tyre. When delivery orders are backing up and customers are waiting for their hot food it is essential that downtime is minimised.
Firstly, the tyres are filled with Slime, a special liquid that is put into the tubes that instantly seals a typical puncture. As air begins to escape through a hole, this green, fibrous “goo” is drawn out, sets and clogs the hole up. It really works. In fact, commercial customers such as security guards and Segway Tour companies have been using Slime in their PTs throughout the country since 2005, and on this basis we can recommend it to every PT owner.
Secondly, California Burrito carry a spare wheel on hand at all times. If the Slime cannot seal the puncture, then the ‘flat’ wheel can be removed in 2 minutes, and the replacement fitted in another minute. The ‘flat’ can then be repaired the next day using the tube held on hand for this purpose.
Thirdly, Segway NZ has provided a customised toolkit to augment the standard set of tools that comes with every Segway PT. For California Burrito we supplied the following items in a tough toolkit box:
- ONE bottle of Slime (450ml) – sufficient for two tyres
- ONE replacement i2 tube
- ONE tyre valve removal tool
- ONE 13mm socket and ratchet drive – to remove the wheel from the hub
- ONE Phillips screwdriver – to remove the wheel discs
- ONE double-barrelled foot pump – to check pressure and to inflate the tyre (highly recommended over a single-barrelled pump or bicycle pump)
- THREE replacement 13mm wheel nuts – in case the originals become burred
- FOUR replacement screws for the wheel discs- in case the originals become burred
- FOUR replacement fasteners – for the Segway Battery Packs – in case of loss, damage or corrosion
- ONE 4mm Allen key wrench
- COPY of Segway PT Preventative Maintenance Guide
- ONE toolkit box with hinged lid and carry handle, with room to hold all of the above items as well as the Segway Reference Manual and Safety DVD
Every one of these items has been selected on proven quality, based on Segway New Zealand’s own experience with these tools since 2003. The cost this particular kit is $195+GST, and replacement stock for all consumable items is available direct from Segway New Zealand. We can provision a customised Toolkit tailored to the needs of every commercial customer, depending on the selection of standard and special accessories attached to their Segway PTs.