Segway is not necessarily known as the coolest of tech companies, with a name that evokes the idea of superfluous, touristy technology, but the brand is now trying to remedy with that with something unexpected: a robotic butler that users can ride.
The new bot was launched on Wednesday and is created by Segway and Intel. It works as a personal assistant bot, completing basic tasks and recognizing people and voices––but remove its detachable arms, and it can be ridden like a traditional Segway. It allows users to travel up to 30 kilometers (18 miles) on one charge and can go up to 18 kilometers per hour (11 miles per hour). The self-balancing robot has 50 safety functionalities, and its assistant work includes taking photos of its owners and ferrying supplies around.
Although the need for a robot assistant may not seem immediately clear, Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel, said at a launch event Wednesday the robots could mean more autonomy for senior citizens, allowing them answer the door, move things around the house, and communicate with others.
Li Pu, the Vice President of Robotics at Segway, said at the event the company will make a developer kit available later in 2016.
"The world is evolving, technology is evolving, the Segway is evolving too," he said. "We think the source of intelligence is innovation, and this robot is designed to be creative and innovative."