Its inventor touted it as being “to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy”.
Apple founder Steve Jobs said it would be as important as the personal computer.
Others claimed it would “revolutionise personal transportation, urban design and our daily lives”, while investors said it would “make quick work of $1 billion in sales”.
The unveiling of the Segway in late 2001 was one of the most hyped technological product announcements of all time.
But nearly two decades and just 140,000 sales later, Segway is no more.
The two-wheeled, self-balancing electric scooter failed to find popularity amongst the general public, but did find a market in security and police, where the majority of its sales came from.
The Segway as we know it, dubbed the Segway PT, will no longer be manufactured from this month, with its owner, China-based Ninebot Inc, announcing it would be ceasing production of the personal vehicle.
“The decision was not made lightly, and while the current global pandemic did impact sales and production, it was not a deciding factor in our decision,” Segway Company President Judy Cai said.
“Within its first decade, the Segway PT became a staple in security and law enforcement, viewed as an effective and efficient personal vehicle.”
Manufacturing at Segway’s Bedford, New Hampshire plant will stop on 15 July, with 21 employees to be laid off and another 12 staying on temporarily.
The Segway failed to capitalise on the huge hype surrounding its reveal in 2001 by inventor Dean Kamen, due to a number of factors.
It was originally on sale for the huge price of $US5000, the equivalent of more than $US7000 today, and struggled with regulatory issues and practicalities of using the vehicle on footpaths.
With production set to cease, less than 150,000 Segways were sold in the near-20 years they were available, despite original plans to sell this number in the first year they were on sale.
Sales of the Segway PT now only made up 1.5 percent of the company’s overall revenue in 2019.
The company also blamed its problems partly on how the vehicles were engineered.
“We tried analysing, how come sales cannot go up quickly?” Cai said.
“One reason, I hate to say, is the quality of it, how durable it is. I talk to customers riding [an old] unit. It doesn’t look good because it’s been on the road 12 years. It has 100,000 miles on it.
“But the machine itself runs very well. And so, when you try to sell new units...unfortunately, it does hurt.”
Dean Kamen invented the Segway and launched the independent company to sell them in the early 2000s.
He sold this company in 2009, which was again sold to Ninebot in 2015.
The Segway company now sells a number of other personal mobility vehicles, manufactured in China, including e-scooters and e-bikes.
The company entered the scooter market in 2017.
Learning to use the Segway also proved difficult, with many high-profile accidents.
In 2015, a cameraman riding a Segway crashed into world’s fastest man Usain Bolt on his victory lap after a 200m race win. Bolt was uninjured and later joked about the incident.
Former US President George W Bush was pictured falling from a Segway back in 2003 at his parent’s house.
In Australia, cricket commentator Ian Healy unsuccessfully tried to commandeer a camera operator’s Segway, ungracefully dismounting from the vehicle and falling over in a tumble.
Heselden, the British entrepreneur who bought Segway Inc in late 2009 from Kamen, died in 2010 after falling off a cliff while riding a Segway.