Prior to its acquisition by China’s Ninebot, Segway was mostly known for its self-balancing people mover that never quite captured the personal transportation market share the company hoped it would. Nowadays, the mobility firm makes all kind of last mile electric transport solutions – from kickscooters to bizarre skates, and is even eyeing the e-moto market. With the S-Pod, Segway returns to its self-balancing roots with a chair-on-wheels designed for use at airports, theme parks and shopping malls.
“Segway-Ninebot has established itself as a category leader in short distance transportation solutions, from innovative delivery robots to kickscooters now used in cities across the world,” said the company’s CEO, Luke Gao. “We are changing the way people move from place to place. With an eye towards the future of how cities will evolve, as well as the mobility needs in the off-road space, we are notching up our offerings heading into 2020 so that they will fulfill the mobility needs and expectations of the world of tomorrow.”
Spearheading that vision is the Segway S-Pod, a self-balancing chair with a top speed of 24 mph (38.6 km/h). The single passenger doesn’t need to lean into the corners like the Personal Transporters of old, but can accelerate, brake and turn by adjusting the vehicle’s center of gravity using a control knob on the navigation panel. Segway says that this setup affords the S-Pod improved safety and stability, though the stabilization wheel out front will no doubt help stop the vehicle tipping forward too much when braking.
The inspiration for the S-Pod is reported to be the Gyrospheres from the movie Jurassic World, though the only image of the vehicle that’s been shared by Segway shows an open design best suited to indoor or dry weather use in enclosed campuses, rather than the enclosed capsule from the dino blockbuster. Interestingly, the very basic information given prior to its CES 2020 launch does mention that it can be remote-controlled using a detachable pad.
Other electric mobility solutions on their way to Segway-Ninebot’s booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center from January 7 include a compact, lightweight electric kickscooter called the Air T15, a Powersports Series electric dirt bike dubbed the SSV-Villain and the zippy eScooter announced last month.