Skip to main content

The solution for flexible bike sharing initiatives without fixed stations

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BITRIDE BIKE SHARING (The solution for flexible bike sharing initiatives without fixed stations)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2018-11-30

ZEHUS represents a European excellence in the field of human-electric transport vehicles and nowadays is ready to launch the BITRIDE BIKE SHARING system to boost its business. The purpose is to develop a new sustainable, hybrid-bike sharing program based on the award-winning BIKE+ All In One, the first powertrain for full hybrid bikes that doesn’t need to be recharged from the grid. The BITRIDE solution introduces several new characteristics from other competitors:
• it offers a faster and more comfortable rides;
• it allows to trace misuses in order to reduce maintenance costs;
• it introduces the concept of fee gamification thanks to a dynamic credit system;
• it has sophisticated embedded sensors to collect data about mobility heat maps, road quality and air pollution maps, and an accurate and long-lived GPS
The ZEHUS technology presents an enhanced road safety thanks to automatic stop and direction lights, and offers a pro-active customer assistance in case of accident. All the permissions/billing/ safety check can be done through the BITRIDE App and data stored in the server. For testing purposes, an area of 4 with 350 units was targeted, corresponding to the city center of Milan. ZEHUS also added other parking areas out of free floating service area, in high demand zones, to extend the service in a more efficient way. BBS system was launched in March 2018 for a selected audience of 150 people.
The users were exposed to a list of tasks to be accomplished over a period of two months in order to test the technology, the App and key dynamics of the usage process. During the second piloting stage, the service was made available to citizens, the pilot area was extended, and a series of additional service features – initially excluded - were implemented.
1st Fleet production: a key goal achieved in P2 is the validation of the technology and of the whole bike sharing model at the end of Phase 1 of the pilot, performed on a fleet of 50 bikes (powered by BIKE+ sharing kit integrated with the Smart Lock system) made available by Darfon mobility.
The test was implemented on a small community of people; the work performed on the bikes foresaw the assembling of the Smart Wheel, of the Bike+ Sharing box and of the complete bike, and quality checks have been carried out through mechanical, back-up battery, firmware and functional testing.

2nd fleet production: the fleet of bikes used for the project validation was extended up to 350 units; no major mechanical or electronical issues have been raised, so that the final product BoM and assembling procedure have been confirmed. Minor adjustments were introduced so as to enhance productivity. In particular, components such as the lock line and the PTFE membrane for buzzer were removed from the final system, while the PCB driver and main board, the support frame /rack, the anti-rotation kit and the ADV panel were reviewed.

BITRIDE APP 2.0: P2 of the project saw the prosecution of the work aimed at the release of a 2nd version of the BITRIDE App, starting from the results of the tests sessions arranged with end-users during the pilot phase 1. Great effort was put by ZEHUS in activities related to bug fixing, service refinements and improvements of the APP, starting from the needs and requirements of the users involved in the first round of tests. While the first version of the APP was intended to take care of the basic renting process (bike locating, unlocking, riding, etc.), BITRIDE APP 2.0 introduced full scale project features like users registration, payments, wallet and points management. The users’ experience showed that the App is friendly, intuitive, functional and that the overall service can be defined more than satisfactory.
Parking issues, payment details, defects and general rental process details reported by the users following surveys and interviews have been refined, achieving an overall high quality of the complete bike sharing service.

Front-end web platform: the company designed and developed a web platform for the bikes’ fleet management; the tool allows to see all the bikes released in the street, detect their state of charge, their location and their last user. Several refinements and additions were necessary, respect to the first pilot, to improve the web interface, expand the service area and the parking areas, as well as the number of bikes available. The platform represents a key result of the BBS project as it will add value to the whole set of company products.

Pilot monitoring: thanks to the analysis of the quantitative data provided by ZEHUS during the experimentation, the positive and the critical aspects of the BITRIDE service developed for Phase 1 could be evaluated.
Considering the objectives of Ph1, an overall positive consideration was possible, and thanks to the engagement of the users participating in the test, the 1st phase of the pilot project gave significant results and suggestions. The most critical aspects of the service were about the malfunctioning in the locking/unlocking process and the precision of the GPS, which were actually tackled by the team of developers.
Ph2 implied the deployment of further 250 bikes into a broader area of the city. The service was accessible to citizens, and the pilot was planned so as to carry out the following activities:
- Selection of the urban area for the pilot
- Design of the pilot project
- Definition of the users’ community
- Evaluation of the best strategy for the pilot monitoring
The pilot projects performed allowed to deeply explore the bike sharing panorama and trends characterizing the mobility sector. The experimentation obtained good results, and objectives were successfully achieved. In fact, despite deviations caused by the introduction of two free-floating bike sharing services in the city and consequent limitations imposed by the Milan municipality to the Service Area of Ph2, the company was able to set-up two pilot phases and test key service features necessary for technology debugging and the refinement of the service model, at the same time raising the interest of the involved community.
The BITRIDE platform developed during the H2020 project created extra value for the users, for the municipalities and for the sharing operators:
- faster ride or more comfortable ride because is electric
- bikes in better conditions with less misuse
- more safety with automatic stop and direction lights
- virtual stations and more disciplined parking
- less maintenance cost for user misuse profiling
- less theft, less insurance cost for redundant mechanical & electric lock
- Unique scalable digital platform for service provider
During the time of the Horizon 2020 project implementation (February 2017 – November 2018) the specific market of public bike has witnessed major transformations, first the rise of the Chinese free floating operators conquering most of European cities in a very short time, then their rapid collapse and phase out. The Bitride experimentation made the company to grow a lot and further improve the technology at the center of Zehus business. During the Bitride Bike Sharing project Zehus had the chance to understand in deep the job of the bike sharing operator, in particular it allowed to mature awareness on the company capabilities to operate as a service provider, on the system necessary to deliver such service, and on the capacity to adapt to the outer quickly evolving context.