Segway’s newest self-balancing vehicle won’t require you to stand up. Dubbed the S-Pod, the new egg-shaped two-wheeler from Segway-Ninebot is meant to let people sit while they effortlessly cruise around campuses, theme parks, airports, and maybe even cities — all of the same places you’d expect to see one of the company’s iconic (if still a bit dorky) stand-up vehicles.
The S-Pod is powered by basically the same gyroscopic self-balancing technology as a traditional Segway. But unlike a traditional Segway, which is driven by leaning forward, backward, and to the sides, the S-Pod is controlled using a little joystick on the right side of the seat. Segway says its self-balancing technology will always keep the chair level and that the two-wheel setup will allow for quick changes in direction even while stopped. (That said, there are three more small wheels visible on the underside of the chair, presumably for moving the S-Pod while its motors aren’t on.)
The company tells The Verge that the S-Pod will debut in the third quarter of 2020 and that it plans to sell them to the public after that, possibly in 2021. Segway did not say how much the S-Pod will cost, though.
The S-Pod is just one of a number of electric vehicles Segway-Ninebot is unveiling at next week’s annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In December, the Chinese mobility giant announced a lineup of electric motor scooters and mopeds that will make their debut at the show, and this morning, the company also teased two new e-scooters, one of which uses a sort of kick-powered cruise control technology.
But the S-Pod is something much different. It’s easy to see how Segway-Ninebot may want to turn a vehicle like this into something that doesn’t need to be driven at all, as it seems like it may be easier to automate than the traditional stand-up Segway. Until then, though, expect to see Segway-Ninebot try to make the S-Pod catch on in the same sorts of use cases the traditional Segway did (think mall cops and sightseeing tours) while also offering an option for people who either can’t or don’t want to stand for prolonged periods of time.