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Two wheels will never be the same again

3 Mar 2017Technology news
4 minute read

Even more people are likely to own a bicycle, moped or motorcycle in future years as a new generation of vehicles are being sold that incorporate significant new features powered by mobile connectivity.

Bicycles are already more popular than cars. There are around 580 million bicycles in the world, with around 42% of households owning at least one1. Motorcycles and scooters meanwhile are a particularly popular form of transport in Asia, where there are scooters in more than eight-in-ten households in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia (as well as 60% of households in China and 47% of households in India)2.

Many of the most interesting services powered by mobile will be created through collaboration between a new ecosystem of mobile operators, insurers, regulators, retailers, fleet owners, public transport operators and technology companies.

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Vodafone Automotive has been working with some major two wheel manufacturers so that they can add connected features to their newest products. That means that motorcycles and bicycles will start to incorporate a range of exciting new features focused on:

  • increased safety - motorcycles will automatically call emergency services if they are involved in a crash. The BMW K 1600 GT is the first motorbike that has that capability, with connectivity provided by Vodafone; - parents of inexperienced riders will be able to remotely set speed restrictions on scooters; and - future applications will include functions enabled by cellular vehicle to everything communication, such as warnings when someone is crossing the road ahead.
  • more security - Vodafone provides the end-to-end technology, including hardware, connectivity and services to help riders of the Yamaha TMAX SX or DX to keep their scooters safe. My TMAX Connect enables riders to: track the location of the vehicle at all times; remotely sound their vehicle’s horn or flash its lights to scare off anyone trying to tamper with it; and, if the TMAX is stolen, owners can recover it using Vodafone’s stolen vehicle tracking and recovery service.
  • better support - we also provide the embedded telematics system for two wheel manufacturers enabling them to record trips and support usage based insurance policies; - connected bike software is updated over a mobile network; and - manufacturers, resellers and riders can use real-time data about the condition of vehicles to order parts or perform maintenance proactively.
  • new social features - Vodafone provides connectivity to the Piaggio Wi-Bike enabling riders to use a smartphone app to choose the amount of effort they want to exert, the number of calories they want to burn, or set a maximum heart rate threshold. The app will provide full route data and statistics about every ride, which can also be shared with friends on social networks.

Vodafone Automotive has developed a suite of products to support the bike industry, including:

  • a dedicated telematics device for two wheels, with connectivity embedded, manufactured in our factory in Varese, Italy;
  • data management and analysis tools for telematics from connected bikes;
  • secure operating centres in 49 countries which support riders 24/7 and can track stolen bikes, then work with local police to recover them; and
  • customisable mobile and web apps that motorbike manufacturers white label to enable their customers to access their vehicles remotely.

We are only at the beginning of seeing innovations that will fundamentally change the experience of riding two-wheeled vehicles.

Manufacturers will design future models of bikes using data about how current ones are ridden. Companies will use the same data to improve their return on investment from commercial vehicles like courier bikes. It is important to say that any data used should only be with the explicit agreement of the vehicle owner. Vodafone always makes customer privacy considerations and data security a core part of any system we design, develop and deliver.

In future we should also expect connected clothing, which can supply information to riders and other road users.

The features on different connected bikes will depend on the user profile of each model. What is clear is that adding an internet connection to two wheeled vehicles can greatly improve the experience for riders.

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The Yamaha TMAX scooter

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Piaggio’s Wi-Bike

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Vodafone’s mobile app for connected bikes

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