Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Segway saves time, increases efficiency

(U.S. Air Force photo) Roger Clarke, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, uses a Segway personal transporter and a GPS unit to map features of the base. Using the two together allows the 21st CES to gather data more quickly.

From 21st Civil Engineer Squadron

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Engineers with the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron are putting energy efficiency and job productivity to the forefront by using Segway x2 personal transporters and Trimble GeoXH GPS units to map the installation.

The two devices provide a more efficient GeoBase common installation picture and infrastructure database updates and validation.

Air Force installations struggle to efficiently capture and validate existing critical utility infrastructure data due to personnel shortages and challenges of keeping pace with technology.

GeoBase offices worldwide are charged with obtaining and maintaining the data in a ready state to support emergency response actions, project estimates, construction and daily operations sustainment.

Uniting a mobile GPS with a Segway improves productivity, increases field data acquisition response time, maximizes staff utilization, reduces vehicle maintenance and fuel usage, and reduces the installation’s carbon footprint. The direct interaction with uploaded features while tracing real-world utility data also increases accuracy and eliminates costly data errors.

“We’ve combined innovation and accuracy to increase data capture and validation that’s resulted in a 65 percent productivity increase,” said Roger Clarke, 21st CES technical support chief.

The beginner speed setting of the Segway is set up to 6 mph, and the standard speed setting is set up to 12.5 mph, roughly equal to a five-minute mile. Segways can travel as far as 24 miles on a single battery charge, depending on terrain, payload and riding style. It can also go indoors, since it’s a zero-emissions vehicle and it is completely sealed to allow it to operate in wet weather.

“This is terrific. I used to have to walk everywhere while collecting data. What a time saver,” said Terry Martin, Environmental Systems Research Institute Air Force federal manager.

“This truly makes work fun,” added Senior Airman Vincent Nocito, 302nd Civil Engineer Squadron Engineering technician.

The Segway is 11 times more efficient than the average American car, and even more efficient than the highest-mileage scooters.

The Segways are also saving the 21st CES energy. Segways draw electric power during recharge, but that electricity causes 14 times less greenhouse gas emissions than driving a car. A standard wall outlet can charge Segway batteries, and it takes about 15 minutes to get enough charge to travel one mile. A full day’s charge (approximately eight hours) costs less than a newspaper in electricity.

Combining the two devices to improve accuracy and save time is just one way the 21st CES is capitalizing on efficiencies as a result of innovative actions.

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