Segway ultimately created this market years ago and raised the stakes recently with some pretty nifty new toys after it was acquired by rival Ninebot. It seems that the market it started isn’t one Segway is finished innovating in.
“This event was off the charts”
Gary Vaynerchuk was so impressed with TNW Conference 2016 he paused mid-talk to applaud us.
The newest offering in the Segway product line is the Mini Pro, which we saw today at CES. It’s a deviation from the original Segway, but not a radical redesign by any means. In fact, it looks like the child of the popular new hoverboard models and the traditional Segway.
The standing platform looks similar to a hoverboard, with a couple of notable differences: the wheels are air-inflated rather than being made of molded plastic, and there’s a central stem that’s used to steer the scooter.
The air-inflated tires allow for better navigation over small rocks and uneven pavement, so you won’t fall on your ass, or your face, nearly as often. Instead, with a bit of careful maneuvering, you’ll ride right over most minor obstacles without much difficulty.
Instead of handlebars, the self-balancing scooter uses a sort of stem that rests between your knees and assists in turning. A simple shift of your weight from one side to another sends the Mini Pro in the direction of your choosing, or in a full 360 degree-plus turn. To move forward or backward, you just lean, much like existing hoverboards.
The Mini Pro is just as agile as any hoverboard, maybe more so. As the video shows, it turns on a dime, reverses and allows for some rather impressive maneuvering. It’s faster than any hoverboard I’ve seen, with a top speed of nearly 11 mph and the ability to reach it within the snap of a finger.
As for product specs, the Mini Pro can cover just under 19 miles on a single charge. Recharging requires about four hours until the battery is full. It’s also drivable with a smartphone app, should you choose to go full James Bond, or grab one of the cool add-ons planned for release in the near future.
The Mini Pro will be available next month on Amazon for $1,299; a bit pricer than hoverboards, for sure, but the Segway name is known and trusted in the marketplace. For the consumer, this means that it’s probably not going to be catching fire like cheap hoverboard imports.
The robot is capable of fully autonomous movement or you can drive it with a smartphone app.
You’ll also be able to add on modules like the Segway Advanced Personal Robot, developed by Ninebot in collaboration with Intel and Xiaomi. It’s capable of fully autonomous movement or you can drive it with a smartphone app.
Segway plans to release a developer kit in the second half of 2016, but no word on when the robot itself will be released.
➤ [Ninebot Mini Pro]