Segway and GM unveiled their egg shaped urban transporter this morning. And now they unleashed a promo video showing it off, which we’ve embedded.
We haven’t had a chance to embarass ourselves by riding around in one yet, but the auto nerds over at Jalopnik took a test drive in it and are digging it:
When we first saw the PUMA last night we didn’t really know what to make of it. It looks like a cross between a mobility scooter and a roller coaster car. But appearances can be deceiving, as this is just a rough chassis serving as an engineering prototype (we’re told the final version will include a few more amenities like doors), but hopping in for a ride (we’ll be able to drive it in the Fall) reveals anything but an unfinished product.
…Riding along in complete silence, sliding fore and aft is a bit eerie. The seats aren’t connected to the floor plan, meaning your feet slide out from under the seat when the cabin shifts foreword and vice versa in reverse. That feeling of connection to the movement helps orient passengers to what’s going on beneath them.
The simplicity of the control system – immediately intuitive – hints at the intended use of the PUMA. You wouldn’t need to be competent behind the wheel of a car to use one, it’s more like operating a video game. Perfect for today’s youth gone wild.
And importantly, while we think it wouldn’t work in a city like New York, Jalopnik points out that it could work in cities like Los Angeles that are wanting for public transit. If Segway and GM could team on some sort of car-share program, then it might work. Of course there’s a large gap between an idea possibly work and actually working.
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