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post #16 of 51
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The market Kamen is focusing on is emerging markets in China and other places where cities are not well developed, and the scooter can be integrated in to the city plans before they get big.
As far as I know, an average worker earns about $100-$200 a month in China. And the road are more crowded than you can imagine. A $3,000 personal "toy" seems out of reach for 99% of the Chinese people. For the Chinese people who can afford it, I think they will just spend more to buy a car or a motor bike for the sake of "family."
post #17 of 51
You're right. Right now, the country is too poor for John Quang Public to afford one. But China is taking steps to westernize its economy, which in time will create a middle class that can afford personal transportation.
post #18 of 51
Products like this tend to find/create there own nich to fit into. I doubt you will see them on the freeway, but you will definatly see them used. That is till the first time someone gets killed on one. Then the lawmakers will get involved with the safety issues and it will go away, never to be seen again.
post #19 of 51
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It's a misnomer to assume that Los Angeles does not have a city center. It does. It has a downtown that is the equivalent of any other city's downtown (get called for jury duty in L.A. and THEN tell me it doesn't have a center!)
I lived in LA for 9 years and served jury duty many times LA doesn't have a true city center like traditional cities (NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, etc). There are bunch of office buildings, with a Music Center thrown in. After 6pm, "downtown" LA is a ghost town. In every other major city, the central city area is also the cultural focus and the "heart" of the city. In LA it's spread out all over the place, and (to generalize) no one goes downtown unless they work there. It's possible to live your whole life in LA and never go near downtown. From a geographic and demographic point of view, it's completely different from every major city in the U.S.

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Most major cities in other areas simply don't have as many small cities in their general vicinity to connect via freeways
Actually, many other major cities have countless suburbs like LA. Chicago has hundreds. NYC is the main exception, mainly because the central city was located on an island It's just that once people started to come to LA, it was designed (or redesigned, depending on your point of view), for both practical and economic reasons, to be a sprawling, auto-centric metropolis. In other cities "sprawl" has been a consequence of growth and lack of space, while in LA it was planned.

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L.A. is most certainly the model that most cities are following, if not by overt city planning choice, then by individual choice of citizens.
Moving out of the central city because of crime, congestion, education, etc. is not an LA phenomenon. People were doing that in Rome thousands of years ago In fact, most urban planners will tell you that LA "sprawl" developed differently than sprawl in other cities, because in LA it was planned from the start, whereas in other cities it was a consequence. Freeways in LA were built to connect various parts of the city before some of those parts were even settled or developed. It's only recently that LA has actually started to look like *other* cities, in that people are moving even further out for the reasons you mentioned.


LA is really the place where a device like the Segway will be least life-changing, IMO, because of all this. It's just too spread out. A city like New York or Chicago, on the other hand, is a place where the Segway could really catch on. In these more traditional cities, there is a well-defined "central city" where everything is located -- business, entertainment, shopping, recreation. People travel to this area, and then use something like the Segway to get around. Instead of this area being clogged by traffic, polution, etc., it could be a much more open area that is safer and easier to navigate. If fewer parking lots are needed, that land can be used for other things. Sure, this is a long way off, but you gotta start somewhere

Plus, another good point that was made is that half of all car trips in the US involved distances of less than a few miles, and only involve one person. If people used something like the Segway for these trips, it would drastically cut pollution, reduce road costs, reduce serious accidents, and cut down on traffic congestion. Heck, living in a "true" city like San Francisco, I would love to have something like the Segway -- I'd use it for at least half of the things I usually use my car for.

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Thus, I don’t think that a battery powered scooter, no matter how high-tech, is going to be capable of transforming the way American cities look, at least not for several decades.
Right -- if it does catch on, the process will take a long, long time. But I think it has real potential to change how we look at transportation.
post #20 of 51
I read an article in my local paper about the segway, and I like the way they're planning on using them. Apparently they'll be used by mailmen or by workers who need to travel over semi-long distances inside factories and whatnot. I don't think this will be something used by the masses at all; at least not in this stage. it's too expensive and too heavy right now. I predict that it will be an industrial/business-only thing (for the most part) for at least a few years. Of course, that depends on how quickly they can improve upon it.

by the way, personally I think the potential problems listed on the website shivohum linked to is pretty laughable. there's nothing the segway can do that running on foot can't do already; in fact, it's not even that good. If you were actually trying to run away from the cops, do you think that it would be hard to find the guy on the segway trying to weave in and out of pedestrians? however, I do think that lawyers everywhere are rubbing their hands in anticipation of the first wave of segway-related lawsuits. If these are used en mass, you can bet that there will be laws in place.
post #21 of 51
I'd say most of the things said about LA's lack of a true city center and spread out design also apply to Houston. So, there is another major city designed in a similar (in my opinion poor) way to LA.
post #22 of 51
Many of the challenges the Segway faces are obviously not going to be a big issue if there are only a few Segways on the road. But the Segway's designer desires mass adoption--he wants a large number of people who drive cars to use Segways instead. If and when this happens, we may well face the problems of people using Segways to steal from pedestrians. Since there would be so many Segway users, catching one wouldn't be as easy as looking for the guy "on the segway trying to weave in and out of pedestrians." Also, securing these vehicles from being stolen themselves IS going to be a big headache.
post #23 of 51
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Also, securing these vehicles from being stolen themselves IS going to be a big headache.
No more than securing bikes now (which, of course, isn't easy in cities like SF where professional bike thieves are masters of defeating locks). The Segways wheels are prett much impossible to remove, and each wheel has a pass-through slot for a cable/lock.
post #24 of 51
mailman?

At my school, there are some golf carts. They are really useful and I WANT one.
Back in Vancouver last summer, I saw some mini motor bikes and they cost about $1k. You don't even need a lisence to drive it.

The segway is very high tech, but most of the time high tech does not win. Look at Mac Vs Pc. And look at MP3 and napster, they are both inferior, yet powerful. Everybody can use them. Then we call this kind of technology "distruptive technology. SACDs are great, but they are too expensive and the supply is limited. Only the elites can afford them. If a SACD player costs $30 and all music companies sell SACDs for $2 each, then there's a revolution.

Ok, my English is poor. But my point is: a revolution must start from the bottom of the society. A product will change the society not because it's high tech, but because it's so low tech. So it will be cheap and every body can afford and know how to use it.
Mainframe computers with Unix are great. You can even use them to test a neclear boom. But who has changed the world. Little Bill Gates with low tech Dos. SACD vs MP3: which has better quality. SACD. But which one has changed the world? Inferior MP3's.

So I don't think the segway will change our society simply it's not inferior enough.

You still don't get it? my goodness. French food is great, but what kind of food has changed our society? Big Mac.
post #25 of 51
MacDEF: Most bikes don't cost $3000. Also, it looks like Segways are easier to stuff into a car.

PC Corp: I think you're confusing *taste* with *technology*. The Macintosh, SACD, and French Food may all be superior to the PC, MP3s, or a Big Mac in that they are more artful, they are more elegant.

But that doesn't mean that they are more technologically sophisticated. For instance, take the Big Mac. It is so well known because of an incredibly complex and efficient distribution and business network that is a marvel of technology. It allows a customer to obtain the same Big Mac wherever he goes, anywhere from America to Algeria.

And MP3s are an incredible phenomenon because they allow people to instantly share millions of songs with millions of people over millions of square miles, all from the comfort of home. The technology behind that is incredible, revolutionary--much more important technology than SACD is, in my opinion. MP3s themselves may not be as fun to listen to as SACDs, true, but that doesn't mean that they are low-tech.
post #26 of 51
Everything is comparative, except the damn Canada custom.

Who's cooking the Big Mac? A kid. Who's cooking the fine French food? Can you smell the Rock's cooking?

Again, "anybody" and burn and down load MP3's, how high tech is it? Even my grandma can do it. I don't want to argue with the high tech stuff.

But I have to say it again that "a revolution usually will start from the bottom of the society.
Who the music industry is afraid of: you, relatively better off, or the kid next door, relatively poor having no dispospal income. The music industry will never worry about you, cause you may down MP3s, but you will buy CDs also. But the kids...

If you still think computer is a high tech industry, then it probably is. But I'll tell you that computers are a commodity product now.
post #27 of 51
so...do you think that high-tech is inherently a bad thing? You're talking about the desire of the masses; if everyone were as interested in high end audio as we are, mp3's wouldn't be nearly as popular and people would be flocking to SACD. if enough people are interested in this product then it will have a profound effect. but I think its effects will be slow; its usefulness and usage will grow in time. This won't be a fad or something. And like I said before, it will probably be used only in an industrial setting for some time.
post #28 of 51
>>Most bikes don't cost $3000. Also, it looks like Segways are easier to stuff into a car.

Youd be suprised! Quite a few bikes cost significantly more than $3000. Most lock companies put a limit of around $1000 for theft insurance and wont even insure em in certain cities (especially nyc). Infact there are only two locks I know of that are insured for manhattan thefts, and those are some hardcore locks.

I used to bike a little with my friends, we got some low level sponsoring (Polo Sport, Speed Patch) and had lots of fun while it lasted. Then I got bored of it. I loved working on and hookin up the bike though. It always gave me something to do that I actuially enjoyed (add). Cannondale Raven frame, full XTR components, Crossmaxes, Speedplay Ti frogs, Synchros seat post, Easton CT2 cf handle bar, etc etc. Ahhh, brings back memories.

Anyway about this Segway thing. I really dont think its going to catch on. For half the price you could get a gas powered scooter that goes 40+mph or an electric scooter that goes 12+mph, for roughly the same price you could get an electric scooter that goes 40mph or a gas scooter and hook it up soooooo nice. Scooters are just about as convienent and didnt really catch on, plus theyre a much better value. AND these things look mad goofy. Even if Segway marketed the hell out of it, I dont think many consumers are gonna bite.
post #29 of 51
do have any idea how LOUD a gas powered scooter is?

that's one of the cool things about the segway. it operates for hours on five cents' worth of electricity. I'd much rather take that route than something gas-powered. besides, can you use a gas-powered scooter on the sidewalk?

I guess, as with many things, we'll just have to wait and see...
post #30 of 51
neruda - For half the price you could get a gas powered scooter that goes 40+mph or an electric scooter that goes 12+mph, for roughly the same price you could get an electric scooter that goes 40mph or a gas scooter and hook it up soooooo nice. Scooters are just about as convienent and didnt really catch on, plus theyre a much better value.

So half the price, same speed. Or the same price, 40mph. AND its still electric .
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