Self-sustaining bicycle tracker

Today trackers have a short battery life, and maintaining the battery demands extra effort of the user. Running out of battery charge makes a tracker useless. This project finds a solution on how to implement a maintenance-free bicycle tracker that acts on bicycle theft, improving the dis-empowered experience of a victim after the event of a theft.

The tracker will be  encapsulated inside the aluminium seat post tube. When used normally, the battery life offers up to 10 years of autonomy. This is achieved by reducing the amount of update intervals using movement of the bicycle as a trigger, the low power of LoRa as communicating and locating technology, and the Power Down Mode of the microcontroller.

Working principle   |  Overview tracking system

The concept consists of three parts: the tracker in the seat post tube, the back-end (cloud) and the front-end (application).

The tracker sends messages with identification strings via LoRa gateways to the cloud, while collecting and sharing data about a potential crime, in the event of a moving bicycle, and enables the user to identify his bike.

The LoRa cloud server is the back-end of the system. It performs the triangulation to determine the location of the bicycle and enables the communication between LoRa gateways and the app servers of users, social media and police.

The app processes interactions with the user, allowing him to create his own bike passport, offering support in theft registration and evidence collection, while having control over the location of the bicycle.

Working principle   |  10 years battery   |  CPU management

For the battery to run for more than 10 years, without implications of the usability, is required to automatically turn on and off the CPU.

The basic principle of this concept consists on a conductive mass on a conductive spring. As soon as the bicycle is accelerated in a certain direction, the inertia of the mass will keep the mass on the same place, causing movement relative to the bicycle. Once the mass makes contact with the conductive wiring around it, the circuit is closed.

The signal will wake up the CPU as an external interrupt from the power-down mode and upload the location of the bicycle. After this the CPU will go into sleep mode with a timer interrupt activated. After 30 minutes the CPU will wake up and monitor the accelerometer for 1 minute, if no signal is detected the bicycle is parked and the location will be shared. The CPU goes back into power down mode waiting for an acceleration to interrupt.

Context  |   Bicycle theft in the Netherlands

Bicycle theft has a negative influence on the bicycle use, quality, road safety and the perceived overall safety of public areas. Anxiety for theft influences the decision to choose for a mode of transport and limits people from buying a decent and safe bicycle. The aggravation of repeatedly having a bike stolen combined with the low risks of stealing and handling stolen bicycles, lead to blurry lines on criminal vandalism.

Research  |  Stakeholder analysis  |  Life cycle of an stolen bicycle

In order to gain insight of what values to take into consideration, a stakeholder analysis is performed. Needs and motivations of the stakeholders provide a grasp on the complexity of the problem, and helps to address the correct solution.

Research  |  Harvesting technology  |  Morphological chart

The ideas have different configurations considering the position on the bicycle, the harvesting source and mounting principle.

A trade-off between the compatibility of PV cells and the beneficial tamper-proof characteristics of the hub dynamo concept arises. In order to offer an affordable and accessible tracker it needs to be highly compatible. Therefore, the combination of the hub dynamo and PV cell concept, mounted inside the seat post tube, is selected.

Competitors analysis  |  Competitive advantage  |  Market position

Competitive advantage can be created by achieving a full circle in the strategy wheel. In the field of battery life, compatibility and subscription costs, there’s a differentiation opportunity from the competitors. Furthermore, the last steps of the retrieving procedure are seen as a promising possibility with the collaboration of the police.

Customer journey   |  Usage   |  Application

The rows indicate the different stakeholders and the columns stages of the use. Per event is displayed what product is necessary for that event.

Prototyping  |  Testing components and assembly

Engineering  |  Technical drawing

Engineering  |  Exploded view  |  Internal components

Engineering  |  Mounting process

Implementation   |  Ready to use

Let’s Work Together

Do you have a product idea and want to know what we can do for you? Or are you looking for more information?    Please contact us.

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