General Motors ( GM) is thinking small and dreaming big. Along with New Hampshire-based electric transportation company Segway, GM on Tuesday introduced a two-seat, two-wheeled prototype vehicle at the New York Auto Show. Called Project PUMA, for personal urban mobility and accessibility, the vehicle is intended to enable people to travel around cities "more quickly, safely, quietly and cleanly -- and at a lower total cost," the companies said, in a prepared statement.
"Imagine small, nimble electric vehicles that know where other moving objects are and avoid running into them," said Larry Burns, GM vice president of research and development. "Now, connect those vehicles in an Internet-like web and you can greatly enhance the ability of people to move through cities, find places to park and connect to their social and business networks."
PUMA combines electric drive and batteries, two-wheel balancing, all-electronic acceleration, steering and braking, vehicle-to-vehicle communications and autonomous driving and parking. The prototype uses a lithium-ion battery. It can travel at speeds up to 35 mph with a range up to 35 miles between recharges. Among the innovations would be use of the sort of vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems that GM has pioneered. Such technology could ultimately enable vehicles that don't crash and drive themselves.
|Mike Gansler of Segway drives the 'personal urban mobility and accessiblity' vehicle in New York's Times Square.|