Segway S-Pod is a Cocoon of Self-Balancing Mobility

CES 2020 will see the introduction of a new way of traversing malls and airports

What: Segway-Ninebot has a new personal mobility device called S-Pod that lets you sit and navigate via a joystick. Unlike previous Segways, you do not lean to move or turn.

How: S-Pod has all the robotic smarts of a Segway, including those iconic two wheels, but the body is more like a mobile Lazy-Boy.

Why Do You Care: As we shift away from car ownership, personal transportation—how we get from place-to-place—is changing. This kind of device could be a boon for people with mobility issues in parks and for local trips.

Move over, powered wheelchairs, the age of the Pod is upon us. Personal mobility company Segway-Ninebot is introducing the futuristic-looking Segway S-Pod, an electric, two-wheeled, self-balancing pod for use in malls, parks, airports and theme parks.

Segway-Ninebot is officially unveiling the rideable next week at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

Segway S-Pod
The S-Pod balances itself (and you) on two wheels.  Ninebot-Segway

Segway was born almost twenty years ago when inventor Dean Kamen introduced the first self-balancing human transporter. It was supposed to change the world. Instead, Kamen struggled to sell his Segways to anyone beyond police departments and mall cops. He eventually sold the company and then it passed through multiple hands before finally landing with Ninebot, where it’s enjoyed a half decade of innovation and some growth. Segway Ninebot now sells various Segway models, eScooters, eSkates, and, soon, the S-Pod.

The inspiration for the S-Pod, which looks more like a white, rideable throne, were the Gyrospheres from the 2015 film Jurassic World. Like those devices, the S-Pod is controlled not by leaning, as with a traditional Segway, but by using a joystick, which changes the center of gravity and sets direction and speed. Segway-Ninebot claims the S-Pod can travel at up to a zippy 24 mph, which is approximately bicycle-speed for a fit rider.

Braking in the S-Pod is done by returning the joystick (and center of gravity) to the center position. As for safety, the top portion of the S-Pod design leaves the head almost entirely uncovered, except for the back, potentially making it easy for riders to keep track of their surroundings and not run into things.

The inspiration for the S-Pod, which looks more like a white, rideable throne, were the Gyrospheres from the 2015 film Jurassic World.

There is, by the way, a third wheel, but it’s only used when you park and power-down the S-Pod.

The S-Pod joins a handful of new Segway-Ninebot e-bikes scooters, including the Kickscooter Air T15, which features a regenerative braking system that can convert kinetic energy lost as the electric motor slows down into electricity to charge up the battery. There’s also a new long-range eScooter E200P that can travel up to 62.1 mph for 124 miles, and a Segway Dirt eBike, which Segway-Ninebot describes as a cross between a mountain and dirt bike.