The Land Transport Safety Authority confirms there will be multiple “issues” surrounding any introduction into New Zealand of the one-person scooter-like Segway.
But the authority has plenty of time to figure out suitable rules and specifications for the machine, previously known as “Ginger”, if it is to be used here, says LTSA spokesman Andy Knackstedt.
“We understand it’s still about a year away from getting approval to operate [on public roads] in the US.” This statement agrees with what Computerworld reporters in the US have heard from the developers — a late 2002 commercial release is foreseen.
At first consideration, likely challenges would include whether a licence would be needed to drive, or ride, Ginger and if so what kind of licence and where it would be allowed to operate.
Despite the developers’ visions of the vehicle going “everywhere a pedestrian can walk”, it would probably be more appropriate to the road under suitable restrictions, Knackstedt says. “With a maximum speed of 27km per hour, I can’t see us letting it on the footpath.”
The LTSA will also have to examine “what safety equipment might have to be on board” to reduce to a minimum the risk to the Segway driver and other road users, Knackstead says.
The vehicle incorporates the computational power of three PCs and a gyroscopic system, according to its developers, to keep it balanced upright and to make it respond to the rider’s body movements by going in the desired direction.