Japan’s Toshiba invents the Segway…10 years too late. I cannot find a corroborating news story yet, but here are the first pictures of Toshiba’s new scooter.
From what I heard, this Segway-like personal commuter vehicle will be fuel cell powered and the LED lights on the front are for communicating with other Toshiba transporters to prevent collisions and auto-navigate. The Segway is illegal to use in Japan on public roads so the Toshiba transporter’s anti-collision and auto-navigation features are needed for any hope for future government approval. [See Comment 3 below for legal details.]
I “liberated” the photos from a insanely vague Japanese PR release that oddly was not fully released (maybe it was recalled). The Toshiba “Jegway” in the picture is only a 1/2 scale prototype. The “Jegway” is actually a 3-wheel device and may be locked in the folded position so people don’t try to ride during testing (Toshiba did not offer any explanation and their Japanese website no details or pictures).
UPDATE: Last year, the 3Yen also covered Toyota’s i-Swing which is a faux-Segway.
For “prior art” that’s more fun, check out mutantfrog.com’s Japan-first transporter…
Click for more info & pix.
UPDATE: More proof that the Segway is banned in Japan….
Segway Park offers test ride to visitors in Tokyo
JapanToday.com, Saturday, December 16, 2006
TOKYO — A special park set up at Fuji Television in Odaiba offers test rides of the Segway human transporter to visitors until Jan 3 to make the new electric-powered vehicle familiar with users….
S G I Japan Ltd began selling the device to companies in Japan as an official sales agent in late October… Since Japanese laws do not allow the machine to run on public roads, S G I expects it will be used for business purposes at large plants, warehouses, shopping malls, amusement parks and golf links.