The company, Segway LLC [now Inc.], was founded on July 27th 1999 with the vision to develop highly-efficient, zero-emission transportation solutions using dynamic
stabilization technology. The company's research and development was focused on creating devices that took up a minimal amount of space, were extremely maneuverable and
could operate on pedestrian sidewalks and pathways. The first employees came from Dean Kamen's company, DEKA Research and Development Corp. The company's first product, the
Segway Human Transporter (HT), was the first two-wheeled, self-balancing, electric transportation device to use Kamen's patented dynamic stabilization technology. Segway
Inc. is based in Bedford, New Hampshire and was founded by inventor and entrepreneur, Dean Kamen, to transform the way people work and live. The Segway Human Transporter
(HT) i Series model i167 was the company's best-known product, a result of years of research and development led by Kamen with the goal of building something that would
make a unique and lasting contribution to society.
Some of the highlights of pre-production models of the HT are surprising (see photo). For example, the earliest prototype of the Segway was codenamed "Ginger" and had tiny wheels, military grade gyros, motors taken from computer printers and no software. The next significant step in product development/evolution was the C0 (Concept #0) model, nicknamed "Sybil" for it's multiple personalities that varied from completely elegant function to going crazy and in one case smashing the rider repreatably against the nearest wall (ouch). Sybil had larger wheels than Ginger (borrowed from the iBOT), was the first to use Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries and a thumb-based steering mechanism. After Sybil, the Concept #1 (C1) design gained special tires from Michelin, stylish wheels from the design group, and except for the pure "T" shape handlebars, looked very much like the final design overall. This HT changed somewhat at the "D1" (Design #1) stage, it gained an especially groovy-looking W-shaped handlebar and wrist-based steering was incorportated. D1 was followed by V1 (Validation #1) prior to the final release of the Segway HT i167 model (available to commercial customers immediately upon announcement on 12/3/01 and to pre-order by the general public a year later on 11/18/02).
PURPOSE (KAMEN'S VISION)
The Segway HT is designed to reduce the need for cars and other vehicles with combustion engines. This could produce some profound environmental changes -both in the long and short term. Note the examples mentioned below cover only the U.S., whose automobiles consume about 15% of the world's oil (In 1996, new car sales in Asia alone exceeded those of North America and Western Europe combined).
SAVE MONEY: The added mobility that the Segway HT brings to people's lives can also generate economic benefits for many of them. Take a look at what owning one less car -or just taking fewer car trips -could do for your budget. If a car is used for one less five-mile (8 km) trip per day, that's 1,825 fewer miles (2,920 km) driven in a year. Since shorter trips cause more stress on engines, using the Segway HT instead of driving on these trips could save US$.36 per mile per car, or about US$1,300 per year for the typical two-car household. This doesn't include car maintenance fees, insurance, parking, registration, and repairs etc and that if you use your car less, it lasts longer and you don't have to buy a new one as soon (learn more here).
-July 27, 1999 - Renowned inventor Dean Kamen founded a new company with the vision to develop highly-efficient, zero-emission transportation solutions using dynamic stabilization technology. The company's research and development was focused on creating devices that took up a minimal amount of space, were extremely maneuverable and could operate on pedestrian sidewalks and pathways. The first employees of the company that would become Segway Inc. came from Dean Kamen's company, DEKA Research and Development Corp.
-February 2001 - The Company broke ground for its manufacturing plant in Bedford, New Hampshire.
-November 2001 - Construction of the Segway manufacturing and assembly plant was completed.
-December 1, 2001 - The Company adopted the name Segway LLC. (It was previously known as Acros LLC.)
-December 3, 2001 - Segway unveiled the Segway Human Transporter (HT), the first self-balancing transportation device, to the public for the first time on the ABC Good Morning America Television Program with Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer. Segway LLC began taking orders from commercial customers for Segway HTs (i167s) initially priced at $8000 each.
-January 2002 - The first pre-production Segway HTs were produced.
-February 15, 2002 - The first state bill allowing Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (EPAMDs) to operate on sidewalks is signed into law in the Company's home state of New Hampshire. Within the year, a total of 31 states passed laws allowing the Segway HT to operate on sidewalks.
-March 21, 2002 - The first production model of the Segway HT i167 (serial number 022111000001) and a commemorative birth certificate were presented to Dean Kamen, chairman and founder of Segway Inc.
-March 29, 2002 -Segway Inc. auctioned three limited edition Segway HTs on Amazon.com to benefit FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a non-profit organization founded by Dean Kamen. The auction generated a combined total of $364,800.00 for FIRST and drew more than 500 bids from across the country. Segway HT #1 sold for $160,100, Segway #2 for $104,100, and Segway #3 for $100,600.
-November 18, 2002 - Segway Human Transporters went on sale to the public for the first time on Amazon.com. The company hosted an Early Delivery Essay Contest and 30 lucky winners received their Segway HTs before the holiday gift-giving season, a tour of Segway Inc. headquarters and dinner with Dean Kamen.
-February 28, 2003 - Segway HTs began shipping to Amazon.com customers.
WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read a wonderful book "Code Name Ginger"
by Steve Kemper (here's an excerpt), watch the "Made In America" TV show when they
visit Segway LLC (7 min, 4.7 MB), or watch the "How It's Made" TV show when
they build a Segway (5 min, 3.3 MB).