Intelligent bicycle gets connected

August 28, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Emergency call, stolen vehicle localisation, predictive maintenance - these electronic bells and whistles known from the automotive industry could soon conquer the bicycle market. At the Eurobike trade fair in Friedrichshafen (Germany), bike manufacturer Canyon and Deutsche Telekom introduced a high-tech bike equipped with the abovementioned features.

The two-wheeler is equipped with a GPS-based e-call system that detects a crash, and in the case the driver is unable to act, it automatically transmits the request for medical assistance and the location of the bicycle to a service station. During normal operation, the electronics unit communicates with the driver through a smartphone app which processes and displays data as to performance and status of wear parts.

The centrepiece of the solution is a communication unit (on-board unit) that fits into the hollow space within the vehicle's frame. The unit contains a SIM card that identifies it for mobile communications, a microcontroller, a motion sensor and a GPS module. On addition, a number of sensors distributed across the bike send their data to the on-board unit. Depending on mileage and material stress, the device computes the time interval for the next workshop service and transmits it directly to a service partner somewhere in the cloud (in this case T-Systems, because for the time being it was just a demonstrator). A smartphone app informs the driver at any time about the status of his vehicle. Thus, he knows when to replace wear parts such as brake pads, chain, and gear cables. Since the owner can track the location of the vehicle through the app or via web browser, he also can locate the bicycle in the case of theft.

Crash sensors installed at various places in the bicycle detect strong shocks, rapid declines of the speed or sudden slanting. In such a case, the unit first sends an alarm notification to the driver's app. In case he does not react within a certain interval, the unit sends a text message either to a personal contact of the driver or to the emergency centre.

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