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BMW has Created its Own Segway

BMW has created an electric one-person means of transportation that could see use all around the world.

According to the German automaker, employees at various BMW Group plants sometimes cover up to 3.7 miles (12 kilometers) per day on foot. Sometimes, those employees also have to carry small parts and work materials, making it harder to walk from one place to another. The company recognized the issues at sites such as the BMW Group Research and Innovation Center in Munich, or the BMW Group plants in Dingolfing and Spartanburg, which are sprawling campuses where many employees have to cover huge distances to do their jobs.

Before diving into creating its own personal mobility concept, BMW said it conducted research into existing options, but failed to find a satisfactory solution. Employees at various sites were surveyed on a random basis, with BMW recording their needs. “It had to be flexible, easy to maneuver, zippy, electric, extremely agile, and tilt proof – and, at the same time, suitable for carrying objects,” said Richard Kamissek, head of the Operations Central Aftersales Logistics Network department. “The Personal Mover Concept can do all of this – and is also fun to drive. We hope to start using it as soon as possible!”

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Measuring about 23 inches (60 centimeters) wide and 31 inches (80 cm) long, the Personal Mover Concept easily allows a person to stand comfortably on the platform, while leaving room for larger, heavier objects. There are two wheels at the rear corners of the platform, along with two support wheels at the front to ensure it never tips over, even in tight turns. In addition, the two front support wheels rotate 360 degrees, helping greatly increase maneuverability.

The handlebar on the Personal Mover Concept contains the entire electrical system, the battery, and the drive wheel. It can also be rotated 90 degrees to the left and right, while a thumb throttle for regulating speed is integrated into the right grip. Like the BMW i3, the Personal Mover Concept feeds off released braking energy that goes back into the battery, and it’s capable of going up to 15 mph (25 km/h), although BMW has limited the speed to about 7 mph (12 km/h) on plant grounds. Its range, 12 miles (20 kilometers) to 18 miles (30 km), is good enough to run on a full shift before needing a charge. There’s even a bell for warning other employees that it’s coming.

BMW says it has held initial discussions with operators of airports, exhibition centers, and major shopping centers on the possibility of using the Personal Mover at those locations. So maybe we will see a new generation of Segways after all, coming from a German automaker no less.

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