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GM-Segway PUMA, two riders

This little contraption may look like it got separated from a carnival ride, but it's actually a prototype from the unlikely duo of General Motors and Segway. It's called Project PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), and here it's seen taking a Sunday test drive in Manhattan.

Caption:Photo:Emile Wamsteker for General Motors
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PUMA zips through Brooklyn

The PUMA prototype is designed to work much like the original Segway Personal Transporter, balancing on two wheels and stabilized (or not) by the rider's body motion. It features electric drive and batteries, along with all-electronic acceleration, steering, and braking. This one's tooling around in Brooklyn.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Emile Wamsteker for General Motors
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PUMA in Times Square

The lithium ion battery-powered vehicle will also feature vehicle-to-vehicle communications, plus autonomous driving and parking capabilities. "Imagine small, nimble electric vehicles that know where other moving objects are and avoid running into them," Larry Burns, GM vice president of research and development, and strategic planning, said in a statement. "Now, connect those vehicles in an Internet-like web and you can greatly enhance the ability of people to move through cities, find places to park and connect to their social and business networks."

The PUMA is supposed to reach 35 miles per hour, and travel up to 35 miles between charges.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Emile Wamsteker for General Motors
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PUMA at rest

GM and Segway are unveiling the PUMA just ahead of the New York Auto Show, which begins later this week.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Emile Wamsteker for General Motors
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PUMA concept

This is an early design sketch of Project PUMA prototype.

Updated:Caption:Photo:General Motors
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