End of the road for production of Segway personal transporter

The manufacturer of Segway is ending production of the two-wheeled personal transporter.

The Segway PT, popular with tourists and police officers – but perhaps better known for its high-profile crashes, will be retired on July 15, the company said in a statement.

It was claimed the vehicles would revolutionise the way people get around, but the plug has been pulled on production.

But the Segway, which carries a standing passenger on a wide platform, accounted for less than 1.5 per cent of the company’s revenue last year.

The company said 21 employees will be laid off, another 12 employees will stay on for two months to a year and five will remain at the Bedford, New Hampshire facility in the USA.

“This decision was not made lightly, and while the current global pandemic did impact sales and production, it was not a deciding factor in our decision,” Segway president Judy Cai said.

Segway was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1999.

The personal transporter’s original price tag of around 5,000 US dollars was a hurdle for many customers. It also was challenging to ride because the rider had to be balanced at a specific angle for the vehicle to move forward.

If the rider’s weight shifted too much in any direction, it could easily spin out of control and throw the rider off. They were banned in some cities because users could easily lose control if they were not balanced properly.

Months after buying the company in 2009, British millionaire Jim Heselden died in a Segway accident.

It may have been a sign that the Segway PT’s days were numbered.
“It was probably over-hyped before it was launched, and when it was launched, it was like, this is not going to work on city sidewalks,” design expert Maryann Keller said.

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