|The Project P.U.M.A prototype takes a test drive in New York. Click to enlarge.|
General Motors Corp. and Segway are unveiling a new type of personal mobility vehicle targeted for city use. Under “Project P.U.M.A.” (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), GM and Segway are developing an electrically powered, two-seat prototype urban vehicle that has only two wheels.
Project P.U.M.A. combines technologies developed and demonstrated by GM and Segway, including electric drive and batteries; dynamic stabilization (two-wheel balancing); all-electronic acceleration, steering and braking; vehicle-to-vehicle communications; and autonomous driving and parking.
Trends indicate that urbanization is growing, and with that comes increased congestion and pollution. The Project P.U.M.A. technologies increase mobility freedom, while also enabling energy efficiency, zero emissions, enhanced safety, seamless connectivity and reduced congestion in cities.
The Project P.U.M.A. prototype vehicle integrates a lithium-ion battery, digital smart energy management, two-wheel balancing, dual electric wheel motors, and a dockable user interface that allows off-board connectivity. The result is an advanced and functional concept that demonstrates the capabilities of technology that exists today.
Built to carry two or more passengers, it can travel at speeds up to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h), with a range up to 35 miles (56 km) between recharges.
Project P.U.M.A. represents a unique solution to moving about and interacting in cities, where more than half of the world’s people live. Imagine small, nimble electric vehicles that know where other moving objects are and avoid running into them. Now, connect those vehicles in an Internet-like web and you can greatly enhance the ability of people to move through cities, find places to park and connect to their social and business networks.—Larry Burns, GM vice president of research and development, and strategic planning
Since the introduction of the Segway Personal Transporter (PT), Segway has established itself as the leader in the small electric vehicle space, and delivered more than 60,000 lithium-ion batteries to the market.
GM has been focusing on “connected vehicle” technologies since it introduced OnStar in 1996. Today, this on-board communications package connects six million subscribers in North America to OnStar safety and security services. GM has also pioneered vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications systems and transponder technology. These and additional connected vehicle technologies could ultimately enable vehicles that don’t crash and drive themselves.
Imagine moving about cities in a vehicle fashioned to your taste, that’s fun to drive and ride in, that safely takes you where you want to go, and “connects” you to friends and family, while using clean, renewable energy, producing zero vehicle tailpipe emissions, and without the stress of traffic jams. And imagine doing this for one-fourth to one-third the cost of what you pay to own and operate today’s automobile. This is what Project P.U.M.A. is capable of delivering.—Larry Burns