The Smart Bike, that is equipped with a Bluetooth lock, a GPS chip, a phone charger, a little bike computer that keeps track of speed and distance, and automatic dynamo lights, will be able to communicate with and update its real-time location to Spinlister’s smartphone application. People looking for a bike to rent can browse the app for available vehicles around them. As soon as they have found a bike and their request for renting has been approved by the owner, the bike will unlock by itself. A bike can be dropped of wherever the renter wants — the Bluetooth lock will do its work and the owner will be able to see the GPS location.
In the past decade numerous cities around the globe have invested millions in central bike-sharing schemes. The Smart Bike concept brings in a totally new perspective. It suggests that bike-sharing schemes could also be organized peer-to-peer and decentralized, without large-scale investments in a city-wide bike fleet, and without central pick-up and drop-off points or stations. By the end of the summer we’ll be able to find out if the idea works, when the Smart Bike will be officially launched in Portland, Oregon.
It’s not clear yet how much the bikes will cost, but Spinlister assures that there are plans to “subsidize and finance the bicycles to allow users to pay the bicycles back through rental revenue over time”. For now it’s the renter’s responsibility to return the bike in the same condition as picked up. As soon as renters agree to the mandatory Rental Agreement they are liable for any damage or personal injuries that might occur during the rental time. Insurance companies, wake up!