Segway to build personal robots with Intel, Xiaomi


Scooter maker Segway announced a resolution for the new year Monday: The company plans to launch a personal robotics division in 2016, and intends to work with tech powerhouse Intel and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi to do so.

The Bedford company was acquired last year by a Chinese company, Ninebot, which makes standing scooters that look similar to Segway’s own flagship product. At the time, the companies disclosed $80 million in funding from Xiaomi and California venture firm Sequoia Capital.

That investment has been topped off with funding from Intel Capital, the investment arm of the tech giant, and GIC, an investment firm based in Singapore, Segway noted Monday.

According to a 2014 report from the Boston Consulting Group, spending in personal robots is expected to hit $9 billion by 2025, up from $2.5 billion in 2015. Among the indicators of an uptick in interest from major tech companies and investors: Widely watched Boston robotics startup Jibo raised a total of $60 million in funding last year from giants like Samsung and Acer, as well as investors in Asia.

Also, Japan telecommunications company SoftBank purchased and worked with Aldebaran, a French maker of interactive robots, with the goal of creating a line of robotic assistants to help customers in retail stores. The product of that collaboration, a robot called Pepper, went on sale last year.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at
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