Happy New Year to everyone who uses a Segway PT to make their life better

The Segway Personal Transporter (PT) changes peoples lives for the better.

Many of the people reading our articles know this already know how useful the Segway PT is because they use one regularly (and it just happens to be great fun to ride, too). For everyone else, we hope you discover just how useful the Segway PT can be real soon…perhaps even in 2012.

Segway New Zealand News ends 2011 with an ever-increasing readership that has been doubling every year since 2008. There have been more than 15,000 unique page views of our articles since our first posting 3 years ago. By the end of this year we are averaging more than 30 views per day. We’re glad that our articles are providing an increasingly popular source of information, advice, real-world-experiences, resources and humour to people interested in the Segway PT.

We wish you all the best for 2012.

Philip Bendall  Managing Director

Segway New Zealand Limited

Watch where you’re going

Whether you’re walking, riding, or driving it is important to watch where you’re going.

We recommend all Segway Personal Transporter (PTs) users familiarise themselves with all of the information at www.segwaysafety.com.

Yesterday, Australian cameraman Joe Previtera was filming at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He was gliding through the oval filming to live TV when he failed to see a cricket helmet that had been left on the ground. The turf tyre fitted to his customised Segway x2 hit and rode up over the helmet, spilling him on the ground (link includes video) – much to the amusement of the audience both at the MCG and worldwide watching on TV. The Segway PT was undamaged, the rider unhurt, but a part on the SteadyCam mount needed minor repairs. It is fair to say that, in the course of doing his job, he made the reasonable assumption that the oval would be free of obstacles and had all of his attention concentrated down the viewfinder. An experienced Segway PT rider can ride up and over a “bump” of this size as long as they see it coming. They anticipate how the PT will react and bend their knees and shift their weight accordingly.

Segway PTs are used in the television and movie industry as quick, convenient “camera dollies'” capable of capturing a wide variety of shots and angles no other single method can achieve. New Zealand cameraman Hamish McIntyre was one of the first in the world to develop a custom camera mount for a Segway PT. He purchased an e167 model in 2004 and built mounts for television and film cameras. He has used it on many films shot in New Zealand including Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, Out of the Blue, Eagle vs Shark and River Queen.

In the photograph above you can see how Hamish constructed a custom seat/knee-grip fitting for his first-generation PT model. A number of other operators around the world have since implemented similar custom solutions, and there is at least one commercial business that sells modification kits.

Segway PTs for camera work at number of sporting events in New Zealand, including Golf and motor racing such as the A1GP. Spidercam purchased a Segway x2 from Segway NZ during the Rugby World Cup 2011.

We thought we’d seen everything….(Merry Christmas)

We thought we’d seen everything…and then we came across this. Yes, for the person who has everything – including a Segway Personal Transporter (PT) – now they can have a Santa on a Segway sculpture.

Last week we discussed the Segway PT and the next 10 years on from Dean Kamen’s original vision. Forking from where we are today will be a variety of other devices utilising the PT’s underlying technologies. For example, the Segway-General Motors EN-V development kept turned heads this year, as the world began to get their heads around the kinds of performance and capabilities that only two-wheeled self-balancing machines can offer. Prepare to be astounded, and watch this 3 minute video of three real EN-V prototypes in action plus animation of what more can be done (all with technology that already exists today).

Earlier this year we discussed the extent to which the Segway PT has become part of popular culture (with references including Justin Bieber, Weird Al, Peter Gabriel, Michael Douglas and Kylie Jenner). The Segway PT has been a part of our lives, work, play, economy, sport, movies and tv for a decade now. It appears regularly across all elements of our pop culture. Here’s an absurd video that is an example of this (or something): watch it here.

Merry Christmas from Segway New Zealand

Cornwall Park ‘Ambassador’ gliding into summer 2012

For the second summer running the Cornwall Park ‘Ambassador’ is gliding on a Segway Personal Transporter (PT).

The Ambassador’s role is to interact with the public who are enjoying the park, offering advice and information about the history of Auckland’s largest park and One Tree Hill, and handing out rubbish bags to encourage visitors to take their refuse home with them.

The benefits of putting staff onto Segway PTs are now very well proven. Last year, At Cornwall Park found these to included the ability to be anywhere in the park quickly, quietly and with zero emissions.

Segway PTs are electric, and a recharge costs just 25 cents. This enables an x2 model to travel about 15 to 20 km, and an i2 model to travel 25 to 30 km. Because it weights just 50kg, the Segway PT impacts just a fraction of the weight-per-square centimeter compared with the petrol-powered golf cart that used to be used for this role.

This year, the park has begun by running a trial to compare the suitability  between the Segway x2 (which is the model they used throughout last summer) with a Segway i2 fitted with high traction tyres. Benefits of the x2 include incredible traction, a soft ride and wide-track stability. The i2 offers longer range, nimble performance and it is easier to store when not in use. In January they will settle on which model suits their needs best for the rest of the season. Segway New Zealand works with clients to ensure they have the most suitable model for their needs.

Feedback from the public has been very positive, in park because they Segway PT is now well-established in the minds of New Zealanders as providing unique and desirable benefits. People recognise how safe and suitable the Segway PT is for an environment like Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill, and benefit from the improved service and security having a roaming Park Ambassador on a Segway PT provides.

Just Water International’s ‘Segway Santa’

Just Water International pioneered the New Zealand water cooler market 25 years ago, and has been leading the Australasian market ever since.

This morning at their Auckland head office and warehouse, Executive Director Tony Falkenstein (ONZM) became ‘Santa-on-a Segway’ for 180 staff. Shortly after a short lesson at 7am Tony was gliding through the corridors and warehouse space giving out candy and surprises, before 30 trucks headed off to the four corners of Auckland to deliver invigoratingly fresh bottled water to thousands of coolers in businesses and residences.

Just Water International is precisely the kind of company that could benefit from owning a Segway PT because their Auckland business is split across two sites.

The head office and the main dispatch area are located together in one large, single-storied facility. An additional warehouse is located some 300m away along a quiet street. Several times per day there is a need for high-value staff to move from one site to the next. The options are walking or taking a car – but parking outside the warehouse is limited. It is easy to calculate that a Segway PT – at about $10 per day over three years – provides an extraordinary return on investment when the value to a company of a member of staff is properly considered. Consider the time it takes to walk a 300m journey three times a day (that’s about 2 kilometres of round trips), or about half an hour of lost productivity. Of course, the measure of the value to a company of a staff member is not their hourly rate, but how much value they generate for the organisation per hour.

And taking the car isn’t any better because of the time it takes to walk to the car, drive it, and then park at the destination and walk to where the person is needed. Plus running costs are high because nothing is more inefficient that starting a cold engine and driving a short distance. By comparison, the electric Segway PT takes you point to point, indoors and outdoors – right to where you want to go.

Find out more by using Segway, Inc.’s Business Compatibility Calculator. For the real nitty gritty, why not read about other businesses who use Segway PTs in Case Studies or Contact Us directly and ask us to email you our many NZ Case Studies about local businesses who’ve been using Segway PTs for years.

Segway PT and the next 10 years

The Segway Personal Transporter (PT) is changing the world one person at a time.

Take the business owner who is more profitable and contributes to growing our economy. Or the tourist who sees more and departs with a Segway Smile on their face. The security guard who’s presence and reach discourages undesirable behaviour. The individual who’s quality of life has been vastly improved by more convenient, flexible and dignified personal mobility.

Equally, the Segway PT is changing the world at a macro level. In hindsight, it was the incredible public interest generated up by media attention over “Ginger” that was the cultural touchstone by which we began thinking about personal transportation in new ways….even before anyone fully knew what Ginger (or “IT” as it was otherwise known) actually was. Here is one magazine’s surprisingly accurate prediction published a few weeks out from the Big Reveal in December 2001:

The technological advances uniquely bundled together for the first time in the form of the Segway PT have been the inspiration for all manner of e-things during the last decade: e-bikes, e-scooters, e-unicycles, e-skateboards, and the revival and reinvention of the e-car.

The Segway PT itself has spawned a wide variety of Segway-like-things – every single one inspired by Dean Kamen’s vision. Indeed, we talked about some of our favourites here. Yet not a single Segway-esque device designed for personal transport has matched the success of the Segway PT in the marketplace. With sales of around 100,000 units recently being quoted by CEO Wayne Mitchell, Segway, Inc. is the world leader in clean, green personal transportation. Thanks to the Segway PT, 100,000 people have autonomy like they’ve never had before in the history of human kind. And the revolution has only just begun.

It took 80 years for the bicycle to evolve to the configuration we now recognise as “normal” – two pneumatic wheels of familiar size. Motorbikes too, took about 80 years to reach modern styles, and e-motorbikes didn’t arrive for 110 years. The evolution of the automobile followed a similar timeframe, and this now-ubiqueous machine certainly lacked any real practicality throughout its first few decades.

In a recent post, Michael Douglas, Justin Bieber and Kylie Jenner supported our argument that acceptance of change and adoption of new ways of doing things happens more quickly today than ever before. Our key example was the incredible change in attitude over just 20 years towards owning and using a mobile/cellular phone. With this in mind, consider what Segway PT owner Bob Kerns wrote on Segway Chat this week:

“We’ve seen people’s awareness and acceptance [of Segway PTs] grow and change, visibly, year-by-year. What has most held back Segways in the past, has moved from a negative to a positive. I no longer get catcalls; I get people wishing they had one, and gushing about how much they enjoyed them. That’s something that has been accomplished in the last 10 years. The next 10 years will not be a repeat of the first 10, of that alone, we can be sure.”

Santas on Segways

This festive season Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) have featured in more Christmas Parades around New Zealand than ever betore. Here’s a photo of Errol and Barbara Wells from Geraldine, South Island.

Errol and Barbara run Del-Con Services Ltd, which has contracts for power meter reading across a number of towns in the central South Island. Errol began with one Segway PT, and it proved to be such an improvement in productivity that he recently purchased a second PT. Errol says that it is simply a case of ‘time and motion’ that makes it obvious the Segway PT provides such a big productivity boost to a business like his – no meter reader can walk – and certainly won’t run! – at an average speed of 15 kph while doing their job, but a meter reader on a Segway PT can travel between houses at these kinds of speeds all day long.

Del-Con Services is an excellent example of a New Zealand small business that has become more efficient by integrating Segway Personal Transporters into their operation.

Meter reading was one of the first applications where Segway PTs were deployed. For example, one New Hampshire power company has been using them since 2002.

10 years ago today the Segway PT was revealed

Ten years ago today Dean Kamen unveiled the “Segway Human Transporter (HT)” on The Today Show, and the same week TIME magazine followed with their Reinventing the Wheel feature story.

The HT was renamed the Segway Personal Transporter (PT) five years later with the release of second generation models featuring LeanSteer technology.

Everyone has an opinion about the Segway PT, and thousands of articles have been been written over the years. “Code Name Ginger” is Steve Kemper’s book (buy it online at Amazon) about the development of the PT, and Wired’s Segways’s Breakdown is an interesting 2003 epilogue published just has the PT went on sale to the pubic.

A decade on, Investors.com has an article covering then and now, and interviews CEO Wayne Mitchell who says about 100,000 Segway PTs have been sold to date. Another article appeared today in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Segway PT is transforming the lives of people who live with mobility impairment. It is having spectacular success in the Tourism and Security sectors, as well as other smaller niches. We wrote about the Segway PT having reached a tipping point earlier this year. While it may be taking longer than Dean Kamen predicted a decade ago, the Segway PTs promise to transform personal transformation over distances too far to walk yet too short to take a car looks likely to happen in this next decade.

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