The Segway scooter was a cool idea, but it's big downside was that people had to actually stand up on it—something fewer Americans are willing and/or able to do nowadays. This prototype of a new Segway vehicle, then, is much more promising. It's the P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility & Accessibility) prototype, and it's designed to provide efficient urban transport for people who don't want their utter laziness compromised. (General Motors is also involved in the P.U.M.A., but that doesn't necessarily mean it's doomed.) If Segway can convince people that these things are actually safe to drive, the company could reclaim its once-shining reputation as an innovator in transportation. At least until Kevin James takes the P.U.M.A. for a spin.
—Posted by Tim Nudd
UPDATE: The only people who'd be understandably miffed about P.U.M.A. at this early stage are the folks at Puma, the athletic footwear company. "It's an acronym, so they're probably protected," says Antonio Bertone, CMO at Puma, who adds that he's gotten "about 7,000" e-mails about the new Segway vehicle. Bertone didn't know how seriously Puma's management will take P.U.M.A., but he did point out an interesting overlap: Michael Taylor, Segway's director of product marketing, used to work at Puma. Taylor could not be reached for comment. —Todd Wasserman