As part of the Velo-City 2019 cycling conference held at the Convention Centre Dublin last week, the Smart Dublin initiative put forward the Smart Pedal Pitch challenge. Companies were given the task of pitching market ready and innovative tech solutions for smart cycling in cities. Smart Dublin is a programme put on by the four Dublin Local Authorities that aims to use data and technology to promote the creation of healthy and more liveable cities, and this goal was encompassed in the four categories for tech solutions.
The first area proposals could address was “Seeking Better Data,” meaning a way to better use cycling data for understanding local issues. The second area was “Promoting Safer Cycling,” and proposals could touch on both preventing actual cycling accidents or the general perception of cycling safety. “Cycle Security” would include reducing bicycle theft and improving parking parameters for cycling. Lastly, “Intelligent Transport System on Cycling” centered on how to apply intelligent transport systems to cyclists.
After receiving more than 40 entries, the team at Dublin City Council’s Smart City team narrowed the list down to ten. Here are the final proposals:
German company Nüweil aimed to tackle the problem of last mile inefficiency. With the rising demand for deliveries, city streets have become overrun with congestion and pollution as large shipping vehicles plague every block. Nüweil’s solution is an intelligent electric cargo trailer that can transport loads as heavy as 200kg. The trailer is powered by an electric engine that works in tandem with the bicycle through the transmission of signals. The trailer is incredibly user friendly since it can be used by any person on any bike (including existing cargo bikes), the size of the box can be changed, and it connects instantly. Pollution would also be drastically reduced since it boasts zero emissions. https://www.nuwiel.de/
With bike theft on the rise, Carlow based Cyc-Lok proposed their smart IOT bike locker system as a viable means to increasing bike security. This bike parking system fits 12 lockers into one car park space, making it compact and easily adaptable to the constraints of an urban environment. Users gain access to the lockers through the port at the end of the lockers or by using the app. Advanced booking of lockers can also be completed through the app. The system operates on pay-as-you-go status and offers short term, on demand parking. The lockers are alarmed and monitored 24/7, making bike theft a near impossibility. https://www.cyc-lok.ie/
Bikeep’s smart bike racks seek to bring cities up to speed with rapidly changing urban mobility. As more and more expensive bikes have been hitting the streets, current bike security and locking systems have been inadequate in preventing theft. With this smart, connected infrastructure, cycling can further thrive as a form of micro mobility. The docking system is also user friendly. Bikes can be locked through the use of a mobile app or a local transportation card. Security is ensured both by motion sensors and a camera accompaniment to every station, and there are also means to charge e-bikes. Founded in Estonia, this company has already installed more than 1,100 bike racks across the world. https://bikeep.com/
Clicks + Links
Founded in 2000, Clicks + Links is an English company that specialises in utilising immersive technology and applying it to new industries. CEO Vin Sumner was present to pitch the company’s Mobike, a virtual reality cycle that allows the user to experience using a bike sharing system without having to tackle the bustling city streets. The aim of the product is to teach people through doing rather than watching, and this is accomplished by the VR simulated bike’s totally immersive experience. With features like tilt, simulated traffic, imported city models, and the use of real-world scan data, this product brings a new level of innovation to cycling. http://clicksandlinks.com/
Considering only 2% of people are commuting by cycle in France, Geovelo was created as a way to make people feel safer while cycling. This free gps app leads users towards bike friendly routes and offers features like real time navigation, personal statistics, and tourist itineraries. As the app is used, it tracks personal statistics and puts forward reports. It also collects information to create a digital dashboard, complete with a heatmap. Geovelo is committed to increasing cycle usage in France and beyond. www.geovelo.fr
This London based company began designing its electric bike share scheme in 2012 with the goal of removing barriers to cycling in cities. For the Smart Pedal Pitch challenge, they applied that scheme to the problems that come with commercial deliveries in cities. With its electric cargo bike solution, small independent retailers could make deliveries more sustainably. The bikes are held in a hangar that can be unlocked through the use of an app. Companies can bring their deliveries to those hangars and use the app to notify their customers that they’re on their way. The app also features live tracking, so customers can know the status of their order, and collects data that can be used to make improvements within businesses and the city at large. https://beryl.cc/
CYCL (Wing Lights)
As seen on BBC’s Dragon’s Den, CYCL has made great strides in improving cycling safety through their innovative Wing Lights. Wing Lights are turn signals that cyclists can mount directly on their handlebars. The one-step activation process provides a clear indicator before, during and after the turn is completed. They are also incredibly easy to install and very user friendly, demonstrating that this product is for both casual and competitive cyclists alike. CYCL also hopes to improve the safety of delivery drivers. https://cycl.bike/
Canadian Founder Louis-P Huard fell in love with the idea of e-bikes while he was in Germany, but Canada’s extreme weather and patchy roads were not conducive to their use. He decided to utilise German technological advancements to build and engineer an e-bike in Germany that could face the conditions of a country like Canada. The result was a smart, connected and 100% digital ebike with the benefits of V2x and ITS. This proactive bike connects to the network around it and is equipped with an array of sensors. It keeps you safe by alerting you of hazards through vibrating handlebars or automatic braking. The network connection also allows it to get smarter every time you ride and reports data back to the city, providing real time feedback of cycling conditions in cities. https://www.borealbikes.de/
Wanting to get rid of unwieldy bike security equipment like chains and U-locks, French Ixow created Stemlock. It is the first bike lock to be integrated into a multifunctional stem. Stemlock makes it impossible to steer a bike when it is engaged, and forcing the mechanism cannot cause damage to it. Because of the permanent connections and protections, the bike cannot be stolen without permanent damage being done. This solution is both affordable and easy to use through an affiliated app. https://www.ixow.com/en/
Now the top Cycling app in Prague, Umotional’s Cyclers is the only integrated and AI-powered cycling app. It utilises crowdsourcing and AI technology to constantly learn from user data so it can offer accurate and personalised advice on where to safely cycle in the city. Cyclers analyses large data sets, including user data, to discover more about the demographics of those who ride bikes and the issues they face. From there, the data engine can then formulate solutions for those issues. Users are given real-time notifications about issues in the cycling network and are encouraged to get involved in community pro-cycling measures. Cyclers hopes to effectively combine cycling routes with public transport. https://urbancyclers.com/cities
Who’s the Winner?
After multiple rounds of pitch contests during the Velo-City 2019 conference programme, Nüweil emerged as the winner with their intelligent electric cargo trailer. Umotional came in as first runner-up with the Cyclers app, and CYCL was second runner-up with WingLights. Dublin City Council’s Smart City and Transport teams will be working closely with the three companies during the coming months to pilot their solutions in the city.
Kajetan Berning, head of business development at Nüweil was quoted in the in Irish Tech News stating “We are thrilled with our win and the chance to collaborate with Smart Dublin by piloting our electric cargo trailers across the city to make urban transportation and logistics more efficient and Dublin more sustainable and livable for everyone.”
As more and more people have already taken to cycling in Dublin, there is no telling how many doors these innovative products will open as the city moves towards a smarter and greener future.
For more information, please visit: https://smartdublin.ie/velo-city-2019-smart-pedal-pitch/