Vancouver Airport security force speeds up with Segway

A high-tech vehicle that will revolutionize human transportation, according to its inventor, has gotten a lift from a Canadian airport.

Securiguard Services Ltd., British Columbia’s largest privately-owned security company,

said Wednesday it is using a Segway Human Transporter at Vancouver International Airport. The Segway, which was introduced by Dean Kamen’s Deka Research two years ago, resembles an upright scooter that can run at speeds of 20 kilometres an hour and respond the movements of its users. If a rider leans forward, example, the Segway moves forward and stops when the rider leans back.

Harry Pokorny, site manager for the airport’s YVR Security Force, said the company is only trying one of US$5,000 devices for now, but he expects to purchase more once the 30-day trial is up.

“”Even though it is relatively pricey at this stage of the game, I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives,”” he said. “”You’d have a lot more attention drawn to the security member riding the Segway. People within the terminals recognize that security is in the area, so there is that feeling of a little bit more security.””

Right now, Securiguard staff use three ordinary bicycles within terminal buildings and three outside to get around the facilities. With its ability to get into tighter spots — its wheels are roughly the width of human shoulders — Segways are more convenient, Pokorny said. They also add a great deal of visibility.

“”When you’re seated on a bike, you’re actually in a seated position so you are obviously somewhat lower than if you were standing,”” he said. “”On the Segway, you’re now raised eight inches off the ground on top your height.””

A spokesperson for Pearson International Airport in Toronto said its security staff maneuver the buildings on foot with no plans to move to a more vehicular mode of transportation.

Pokorny said Securiguard sent its company trainer went to Segway’s manufacturing headquarters in New Hampshire to become a qualified Segway instructor, then returned to train a few staff members to drive the device.

“”I loved it,”” Pokorny said. “”One thing about being a man is you never lose the boy inside you, and I’ll tell you — once I got on that thing, I didn’t want to get off.””

Though Segways are not a very common sight right now, this is not their Canadian debut. Earlier this year the president of Canadian technology firm Versature Corp. used a Segway as part of a venture capital fundraising road trip that stopped at the IT Financing Forum in Toronto.


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Shane Schick
Shane Schick
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