Electronic Design

Segway's Concept Centaur: Computer Controlled Mobility Leads To New Concepts

Segway turned transportation technology on its ear with its Segway HT. This platform is now available as the Robotic Mobility Platform (RMP). The RMP100 and RM200 look like a table-topped Segway HT. The new four-wheel-drive RMP400 looks more like a box with wheels, but it is the new Concept Centaur that diverges from the conventional design.

The Concept Centaur is a four-wheeled bike that combines drive-by-wire with mechanical steering for an off-road vehicle that can balance on its rear wheels providing the driver with a higher field of view. Like the Segway HT, the Concept Centaur's electronics track a host of variables to make the system respond to the driver's desires. It's no surprise that the rear of the unit looks a lot like the bottom of a Segway HT, including the electronics and motors. Its dynamic stabilization technology can prevent the Centaur from flipping over (although nothing short of levitation will help if you drive it off a cliff). Still, balancing on two wheels with this four-wheel vehicle is as stable as standing on the Segway HT. It just adds a foot or so to the height.

Concept Centaur uses technology found in the Segway HT, but it is more robust with a top speed of 25 mph versus the Segway HT's 10 mph. The lithium-ion batteries give it a distance range in excess of 10 miles. The system incorporates a regeneration system like that found in the Segway HT and most hybrid cars to recover energy when slowing down. Like most electric vehicles, the Concept Centaur is extremely quiet with no significant heat-signature making it ideal for "inconspicuous travel."

The Concept Centaur also has a more conventional thumb-operated throttle on the handlebars. Its X-shape profile highlights its suspension system that is built around a central pivot point.

The Concept Centaur is not quite a product yet, but given how fun it is to ride and its natural benefits, it is likely to show up on the showroom floor sometime in the near future.

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TAGS: Components
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