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.”

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