Segway’s personal transporter is nearing the end of its ride, company officials announced on Tuesday.
China-based Ninebot, which bought the Segway in 2015, will stop production after the device only accounted for 1.5 per cent of Ninebot’s revenue, according to Tony Ho, vice president of global business development at Segway.
The original Segway vehicle was developed by Dean Kamen and his team of engineers after inventing the initial technology for a rising and self-balancing wheelchair.
While used by tourists and some police forces, the vehicle also became known for high-profile crashes.
It even resulted in the death of a former Segway company president, who drove one off a cliff in 2009.
The company said 21 employees would be laid off, another 12 employees would stay on for two months to a year, and five would remain at the Bedford, New Hampshire facility.
“This decision was not made lightly, and while the current global pandemic did impact sales and production, it was not a deciding factor in our decision,” Ms. Cai said.
Despite promising to sell over 100,000 Segways in the first year, it took the company well over a decade to reach that milestone. The expensive and low-speed electric vehicles simply never caught on en masse with the public.
Instead, they were relegated to use in security guard fleets such as those in airports and malls, as well as with tour groups.
And if the sight of a bunch of tourists bumbling around on Segways didn’t make the vehicles cool, nothing would.