Since the production of the balance vehicle of the same name, Segway has been known to a large part of the (technology-interested) population. China gadgets readers have also known for a long time that the US company has been part of the Chinese company Ninebot since 2015. In the course of the CES, the S-Pod has now been presented as a moving armchair, which many rapporteurs compare with the floating seats made of Pixars Wall-E.
In a way, the S-Pod, as the vehicle is called, resembles the original Segway. Two wheels on a self-balancing vehicle, only that the driver is not standing but sitting. And you actually have to speak of an armchair rather than a chair, because the driver sits almost upright, but can still lean back comfortably. For the first time, it is not controlled by shifting body weight, but with a small joystick that is operated by hand.
However, the technology is the same as for other Segway models. In order not to tip over when switched off, the chair has two support wheels at the back (and another at the front). Leaning slightly backwards, you can easily get on and off. In addition, the S-Pod can also be moved (pushed) when it is not switched on.
So far, there is no information about the performance or range, nor about the price of the new vehicle. It will need a strong motor and a sufficiently large battery to move the S-Pod over sufficiently long distances. However, it can be doubted whether it really is suitable for road traffic. Use as a means of transport in large office buildings or at airports, for example, is more likely.
Basically, one has to ask where the need for this vehicle is . Physically impaired people certainly benefit from a convenient and easy way of transport, but there are also comparable wheelchairs that do not need to keep themselves in balance. In addition, the S-Pod simply invites you to the convenience of other vehicles. Then the comparison with Wall-E is appropriate again. Or how do you see that?
With the Ninebot Max G30D, the parent company (Segway) Ninebot has recently developed an e-scooter especially for the German market. We liked the scooter in the test, but due to its high weight and price it is not a mass-produced device.
The price of Segway S-Pod is likely to be in the lower to middle four-digit range, which means that the S-Pod should not be a real option for most people, especially in the initial phase. And there is still the possibility that he will not make it beyond the status of a concept vehicle. Hopefully more information will be released by Segway during the CES.