NEW YORK - Segway Inc. is recalling all 23,500 of the self-balancing scooters it has shipped to date because of a software glitch that can make its wheels unexpectedly reverse direction, causing riders to fall off.The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is cooperating with Segway on the voluntary recall announced Thursday, said consumers should stop using the vehicles immediately.

Segway has received six reports of problems with the Personal Transporter, resulting in head and wrist injuries, according to the agency. The vehicles were previously known as the Human Transporter.

Segway is offering a free software upgrade that will fix the problem. The upgrades will be done at Segway’s 100 dealerships and service centers around the world, according to Segway spokeswoman Carla Vallone, and the company will pay to ship the devices to the appropriate center if need be.

It is the second time the scooters, which sell for about $4,000 to $5,500, have been recalled since they first went on sale in 2002. The 2003 recall involved the first 6,000 of the devices sold, and involved a problem that could cause riders to fall off the device when its battery ran out of juice.

As I posted to our own team web site, this was a GOOD “business” decision by Segway…I commented that:

Sure, they could have announced that a software upgrade was avalaibale and that every user “could” go to the web site and download software, etc.

But, forcing people to take their Segways back to a local dealer is a much better decision. It sounds like the problem was identified and QUICKLY dealt with rather than dismissing the risk/cost decision…

this is the first time Ive seen the 23,500 number (sold).

23,500 * $4,250 = $100 Million dollars in sales

(not too shabby! for a total startup from nothing)

Yes, but what are the manufacturing costs for one of those? There’s some pretty fancy parts in there (custom wheels, custom motors, fully redundant electronics separated by fiber, etc.) that certainly can’t be cheap. Not to mention that they probably spent a very large amount on the R&D…

I was actually shocked at how low the number was. 20,000 over 4 years doesn’t seem like very many.

Following a normal business model you would not expect a new company to make any profit for the first 5 years - those years are 100% investment in the new technology and startup costs.

I would expect Segway is paving the way for a very long term commercial existance. In that perspective, this recall was an excellent business decision - keeping quality and user safety on the top of their list of prioritys, and on the forefront of the publics perception.

At the risk of going off-topic further, it seems like the first year was slow. Engadget reports that there were 6000 sold at the first recall back in September 2003. So that’s 17,000 or so over the past three years (a smidge under 6,000 a year), compared with 6000 from February 2004 to September 2003 (about a year and a half).

And, just to say I wasn’t totally off-base, props to Segway for getting on top of this before it becomes another case of exploding laptops.

I just saw this on the news too… you ca nsee another story here…its too bad.

I would not say its a bad thing. To put it in perspective, how many times a year does your PC automatically goto the microsoft website and update its SW?

Windows updates are not to improve the operation or to add features, they are to fix bugs, security problems and mistakes.

Segway has only needed to update their SW once? That is incredible by most standards!

Gee, Ken, is five-years-before-profitability the norm where you work? It sure isn’t where I work.

Dean and the Segway investors are visionary people and they are not lacking in financial wherewithal, but five years is still a long time to wait for an expensive idea to become profitable.

I herd on the radio this morning that Segway was going to recall all of their units.
Some effected units from Segway’s press release

“The voluntary recall applies to all Segway PTs sold to date including all Segway PT i Series, e Series, p Series, XT, GT and i2 models. The Segway x2, due for release later this month, is not affected by this recall and all new shipments of the I2 are being shipped with the new software release.”

Just putting this out there for all of you Segway owners. The error was described on the radio as:

“The wheels Randomly reverse themselves throwing the rider off of the segway.”

More info can be found here

I rode my Seg everyday prior to the recall, and will continue to ride it. The plausibility of such an error had to be tried in such circumstances that can almost never be matched. I have a higher chance of hitting a tree stump/water patch/etc, and having my wheels spin out on me. Anyone who had proper Seg training would know to not tightly grip the handlebars, as this could cause the so called “wrist injuries” in such an accident.

Most likely, when a local dealer has an upgrade event I will attend as it’s less painful now then to pay for it in the future if need be.

I’m suprised that Segway is letting people know the # of units they have sold. For the first couple of years, this was confidential.

Andy B.

they sould try buletooth or just pull and chug updates on the new segways

I think its a safe bet to say Segway does not want their transporters to be user-upgradable, plug in a USB cable and goto some website…

that would open the door for people to hack the SW, to make it go faster or change other control characteristics, outside of Segway LCC control and authority.

Im gonna bet its not gonna happen.

Another link to add to the many sources of the recall.

From what I have been informed so far (this will be my first upgrade experience first-hand), it’s quite a process. It will be more than a simple “download” as the machine has to be opened to it’s more intricate parts to expose the computer. (All of the Segway’s working parts are located in the base, no component is located outside of this.)

It aught to be interesting, I hope to be able to watch and partake in it, and not just do a “drop and go” for the software upgrade.
Someone failed to brief the President(s) about this!

[Conspiricy Theory]Was it really a “glitch” as they claim?[/Conspiricy Theory]

I’m not really worried about this recall, as there are only a few limited times in which this glitch can occur. In the meantime, I’ll just be more careful riding my Segway in these circumstances until I can get the software upgrade.

I would be a lot more concerned if the glitch was totally random and could happen anytime, such as the Dell Laptop batteries spontaneously becoming incendiary firebombs.

Its not all that complicated Ashley. They remove the control shaft to access the cables inside, then attach adapters to one or both connectors. When my machine was upgraded to 12.0 part of the process required a special laptop and access to the internet to communicate with the “mother ship” while my Seg was hooked up. But it is basically very un-eventful. A dealer in Columbus OH is having an “End of Summer” bash this weekend (with some LLC reps, a skills course, I2 demos, and even an iBot demo). I will be attending to meet up with several other owners I have met in the past - the dealer is doing upgrades for us there.

Very funny Jack, but I’m sure you know that is a very old picture. Also, that sequence is incorrect. He “fell” when trying to get on a Segway that was not turned on, then later “figured it out”. I wonder if he thinks Segways are ‘nucular’ powered … :wink: