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Segway replacement

2002-04-22 16:44:00+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Given that the Segway lobbying machine is going to override concerns about motor vehicles on sidewalks and get bills passed to allow it, it seems to me that building a 4 wheeled version with similar leaning control could be a profitable endeavour, and probably end up with lower energy consumption. I'm still a little unsure on all the details, but I've got some ideas...

[ related topics: Segway/Ginger/IT ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-04-23 13:18:14+00 by: petronius

As this link from Wired http://www.wired.com/news/gizmos/0,1452,48908,00.html shows, the 4 wheeled Segway does exist, kinda. It certainly makes use of the brilliant balance module Kamen is using in the Segway. I suspect that this approach can be used in a number of different vehicles, maybe something in between the Segway and a full-fledged power chair like the Ibot. It may be that Kamen will make more money selling the balance system to other people, maybe for industrial robots.

As to energy consumption, wouldn't a 4-wheel Segway have more rolling resistance than a two-wheel design, thus increasing the engergy pull? I suppose it would depend on how much juice is needed just to propel the weight, and how much is used in the balance compensation operation.

#Comment made: 2002-04-23 14:25:07+00 by: Pete

The two wheel version has very soft tires to provide a larger contact patch and increase grip, which adds a lot of rolling resistance. Going to four may allow more efficient tires.

One of the things that reading about the Segway tickles in the back of my brain is decade old (plus?) memories of reading about active automotive suspensions. The cars end up leaning into corners. I always wondered what happened to that avenue of research.

Dan Bricklin put up a very detailed piece on what it feels like to use a Segway for an extended time: http://www.bricklin.com/segwayride1.htm

#Comment made: 2002-04-23 14:59:22+00 by: Dan Lyke

Active suspension is still around, but the only thing that cars leaning into corners (rather than just being kept level) buys you is a slightly disoriented driver ('cause the car's pulling harder than the driver thinks it is). So nowadays it's more targeted towards keeping the car level, and trying to switch from soft to hard depending on the roughness of the surface.

But Segway[Wiki] replacement wise, I'm actually not thinking about anything with all that much intelligence in the ways of controllers. Probably not much more than a motorized skateboard that has enough balance sensing that after some practice you could get the fore-aft motion synchronized with the controllers. Just enough that for less than a thousand bucks you could get into something that'd be legal in the same places.