SoBi (Social Bicycles) is developing a streamlined, dock-free bike sharing system. Their design will eliminate expensive docking stations and integrate tracking and security directly into the bicycles, in the process cutting up-front costs by as much as 75%. From SoBi:

SoBi’s industrial designers, engineers, and software developers are working together to build the world’s first bicycle with an on-board computer, mobile communications, and an integrated GPS-enabled lock. This disruptive product and the supporting mobile and web applications will create a flexible, scalable, and affordable bike sharing system.

Subscribers will locate bikes using their mobile phones. Once a bike is located, it can be unlocked by entering a PIN on the bike’s combination keypad/lockbox. When the trip is complete and the lock is re-inserted, the bike notifies the system that it’s available for the next user.

SoBi is currently raising funds at KickStarter to build their pilot fleet.

Social Bicycles Demo from Social Bicycles on Vimeo.

More at SoBi
SoBi at KickStarter

[via Bicycle Design]
[Hat tip: Michael R.]

6 Responses to “SoBi”

  • david says:

    Hooray, I hope its easier than the DBhan system currently in place in Germany. I wanted to ride but the method to call and unlock the bike was so awkard I ended up hiring from a backpackers.
    Languages- translations are very important because most of the hiring audience may not speak the native language….. In Melbourne the bike hire system started last year and has been a success albiet those who hire the bikes are not required to wear a helmet as required by law for all other cyclists in town….mmmm problems to be solved. But this is a wonderful way to see a new city. I hope they iron out the bugs for easy enjoyable sightseeing/commuting.

  • kanishka azimi says:

    almost got a summer internship with these guys, wuld have been cool. thanks for posting

  • Nathan says:

    The real test will be if they are stolen or vandalized. Call me cynical, but I see that happening even if they’re un-rideable without a code.

  • Michael says:

    I don’t think having a completely distributed system is a good idea. Docking stations may be expensive, but they allow locations to be carefully considered to balance bike storage with sidewalk capacity, parking conflicts, etc. Commuters using the new CaBi system in D.C. rely on a supply of bikes at designated stations for a reliable commute. Plus, it’s not really fair to have a system that relies completely on smartphones or ipads.

    Cool, yes, but not so cool if you don’t have an iphone. I would be concerned if I was SoBi, as this will be a tough sell to major cities. It might work for college campuses though…

  • TheCityFix Picks, July 15: Kalka Mail Derails, SoBi Bike Share, Defunding Smart Growth | TheCityFix says:

    […] dock-free bike sharing system is being developed by SoBi, who says the streamlined technology will eliminate 75 percent of the […]

  • Garrett says:

    I’m glad to see SoBi is moving along and making progress. I first saw SoBi at Transportation Camp in New York several months back and was impressed. Good luck and I hope to see the bikes on the street soon.

    P.S. Come to DC, it’d be a great compliment to CaBi!

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