(from Segway Press
Release) Like the mythical half-horse, half-man of Greek
lore, Concept Centaur combines the best of several technologies to
create an innovative whole. The result of exploration by Segway
LLC's product development team, Concept Centaur will challenge the
way you think about four-wheeled transportation.
From time to time Segway's product development team devotes days, or
even weeks, to creating new product concepts with the goal of
finding a prince among frogs. It's a product exploration process
they call "frog kissing." During this time, engineers and designers
are encouraged to use any available materials in a very short time
frame to prove a concept will work.
Recently, the product development team demonstrated that Concept
Centaur was a prince—a concept that passed this initial feasibility
test, but is not yet ready to become a product. Concept Centaur
demonstrates Segway's continued commitment to breakthrough
innovation and the innumerable possibilities for the future of
Concept Centaur combines proprietary dynamic stabilization
technology with advanced propulsion and suspension systems, and an
intuitive user interface to create a unique four-wheel device that
is easily controllable on two or four wheels. Its full suspension
and aggressive rider positioning provide an exhilarating ride for
one or two people while maintaining control over a variety of
terrain. Its rugged performance, zero emissions, and quiet operation
make it a good low-impact way to explore the world. Its power and
versatility make it suitable for a variety of indoor and outdoor
recreational and commercial applications.
Intuitive user controls:
Thumbs forward: The
Centaur's forward and backward propulsion is easily controlled
by pushing a thumb throttle located on the underside of the
Pop a wheelie: The
Centaur uses dynamic stabilization technology to limit and/or
maintain the angle at which the rider experiences the device.
What would normally be a dangerous maneuver on a motorcycle or
ATV becomes safe and controlled on the Centaur. In addition, the
rider can position his/her body in three different ways, which
makes for a fun ride. This technology also allows for a
high-performance design with a short, compact wheelbase - a
combination that traditionally can be very difficult to control.
Lean forward, go
forward: If you've haven't yet experienced the Segway HT, now is
the time. If you have, you know what we mean by intuitive
controls. Concept Centaur uses dynamic stabilization in a
similar way. When on two wheels, the Centaur is controlled by
how the rider shifts his or her weight. To go forward, lean
forward. To go back, lean back.
Simultaneous mechanical and
Smart steering: The
front two wheels turn left and right mechanically, which is made
possible by an innovative linkage system designed by Segway
engineers. The Centaur's advanced controls software also allows
the rear wheels to turn at different rates in response to data
received from the rider's steering direction. When on two
wheels, steering is accomplished in the same manner, by turning
the handlebar. Sensors in the vertical portion of the steering
column monitor the rider's input and sends a signal to the
controller boards, which then issues a command to drive either
or both of the rear wheels. Turning rate is coordinated so that
even with the wheels off the ground, Centaur follows the path
defined by the front wheel angles. This allows smooth
transitions between two-wheel and four-wheel operation.
Batteries power the Centaur, which means that there are no
emissions. In addition, the Centaur uses regenerative braking,
which means the batteries are recharged during deceleration and
motors and an innovative gearbox design result in a quiet ride.
The Centaur prototypes use the same non-marking silica-based
tires as the Segway HTs'. These tires are smooth, which allows
the rider to perform exciting maneuvers while having little
impact on the terrain.
Distinctive design, elegant
A profile X-shape:
The profile of the Centaur creates an "X." Right after the
Centaur was crowned a prince by the engineers, they quickly
pulled in Segway's industrial design team to integrate their
vision into the product's form and function. What resulted is a
concept with a sleek minimalist design that elegantly showcases
the rider, leaving the simple mechanical elegance of the
underlying design visible.
Three shocks: There
are three shocks on the Centaur that absorb bumps and help the
wheels maintain contact with the ground. There is one in each
front "arm" and one in the rear.
Centaur only weighs about 150 pounds and can be easily
transported in the back of a large SUV or small pick-up truck.
If developed, its light weight would allow for transport on the
back of small cars through a hitch-mounted rack, similar to that
used for carrying bicycles.
How fast does it go?
prototypes have gone just over 20 miles per hour. If Concept Centaur
were to be manufactured in the future, more testing would be
required to determine the appropriate top speed.