Bixi-style bikes to get SmartHalo tech in 15 cities


Bike-sharing services in 15 cities around the world could get smarter starting next spring.

Kickstarter darling SmartHalo, which developed an on-board navigation system for bikes, is set to implement its technology into bike-sharing systems run by PBSC Solutions. PBSC’s bikes and technology are used in the majority of large bike share systems. Riders could be riding these smarter bikes as early as next spring, just in time for the summer riding season.

Techvibes’ Jacob Serebrin reported the story. He said at least 15 cities will have the option of implementing SmartHalo technology into their bike-sharing programs.

“Xavier Peich, the co-founder of Montreal-based SmartHalo, says PBSC Solutions first approached his company a year ago, looking to collaborate,” wrote Serebrin. “PBSC, also based in Montreal, developed the technology and the bikes used for public bike share programs in New York, Montreal, Toronto, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Boston, as well as in England and Australia.”

PBSC was originally owned by the city of Montreal’s Bixi bike-share system and later sold off as a private company.

PHOTO: Adam Fagen

PHOTO: Adam Fagen

Serebrin wrote that SmartHalo tech will be in thousands of bikes in cities that not only have millions of residents of their own but also attract millions of tourists every year.

Currently the docking stations used by bike-share systems don’t transfer any power. SmartHalo needs to be charged every few weeks. According to Serebrin, the next iteration will solve this issue.

Serebrin did some nice background work on the state of the bike-sharing industry in North America currently. Three main companies exist in North America in Montreal-based PBSC, New York-based Social Bicycles (SoBi) and Wisconsin-based BCycle. PBSC’s largest system is London, with 13,600 bikes. Montreal, New York and Chicago have over 5,000 bikes. Six other cities have over 1,000 bikes.

“Vancouver’s new system, which launched on July 20, is starting with 250 but is set to grow to 1,500 bicycles by the end of the summer. The larges BCycle system is Los Angeles, which has 1,000 bikes and is set to expand to 4,000, if it’s successful,” wrote Serebrin.

“Of course, these all pale in comparison to the bike share system in Hangzhou, China, which has  66,500 bikes.”

SmartHalo’s smart bike device will release in September for US $139 and US $159 (retail).

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