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CES 2019: Solar Connected Bike, a shared mobility solution for greener transport

Sustainable mobility

Dream or reality? The Solar Connected Bike project developed by Patrick Noel (Nokia’s Agility Innovator,  IT Governance Facilitator & Open Innovation Coach) and Fakroudine Akbaraly (Nokia's Business Group Partner/ Open Innovation Coach) makes a dream come true: as an inclusive way of getting around together 4.0, one that is ecologically-friendly and well-designed and will undoubtedly revolutionize transport in cities.

The Solar Connected Bike will be presented at CES 2019 on the ENGIE & Partners booth. Patrick and Fakroudine told us about their project.

The Solar Connected Bike emerged from Nokia’s Open Innovation process, which is a key value for the company. It came out of the Nokia Garage, the first example of which was created on the Nokia campus in Paris Saclay (B.Marquet).

So we wanted to launch an innovative project that addressed the values that were important to us, ecology and eco-mobility, while providing a service for the people who have to deal with difficult daily transport conditions, especially in large metropolises.

Getting out of traffic safely, providing a means of transport that is accessible to everyone, betting on shared mobility and connectivity 4.0: these are the starting points for the Solar Connected Bike.

With the support of the Garage and Nokia Bell Labs (JLBeylat) we were able to embark on this great adventure and introduced our prototype on November 15th for the "5G Smart Event", an important event for Nokia whose goal was to present how 5G is changing through different use cases.


So your project is a connected solar bike? Tell me more!

In fact it is not exactly a bike: it is a “trike”, with two wheels at the front and a wheel behind. As its name suggests, it incorporates the solar aspect, the connected aspect and the hybrid bike aspect.

One of the most important axes in the developing this project was the design. We worked in Open Innovation with a school of design that let us offer something disruptive in both look and approach. We were looking for the “wow” effect that you now find in the prototype.

In addition to the visual impact, the design is intended to protect users, making them feel safe using this new means of transport. The cockpit protects the passengers and the roof houses a solar panel that generates energy while protecting you from the weather.

The Solar Connected Bike’s dimensions allow it to use bike lanes, which addresses our desire to get out of traffic flow and reduce the use of vehicles and motorcycles by proxy. At 80 cm wide, it is the width of a bike, and it is 1.60 m high and 2.60 m long.

It should be noted that it is a two-seater means of transport that is accessible to everyone, with seats in front and behind, which is fundamental in our shared mobility project! This is a very important element, both in terms of the business model of sharing and in the approach, since we wanted to make shared biking possible.


Are solar panels the only way for the bike to recharge?

The Solar Connected Bike is first of all a hybrid electric bike! We set a rule for ourselves - for France at first – that we need to respect the rules of cycle paths. We therefore limited the electric power and the speed limit (25 km / h) to match the standards of the electric bike. Note also that there is no need for a license or to wear a helmet, because its design makes the bike is sufficiently safe.

This is a hybrid vehicle. The first energy is human, since it must begin by exerting pressure on the pedal. The "outside" energy used is green, since it is the solar that powers the motor, either directly or through a lithium ion battery. We also recover the mechanical energy, during descents or braking, to supply the battery, in order to reach a range of up to 120 km, so as to cover the needs of dense cities, but also urban.

Ultimately, our goal is to develop a road map that would combine renewable energies on the basis of future developments and particularly the development of hydrogen.


So that’s the solar aspect. And for the connected part?

The SCB is equipped with applications that monitor driving, safety and health.

The intelligence we have added to SCB through electronics and IT will manage and optimize energy use based on traffic conditions, weather and travel.

We have also integrated applications that cover usage needs:

  • Well-being, with the Health app. Sensors continuously record information such as heart rate, which are used to define a power assistance program based on your physical condition.
  • A real-time geolocation application optimizes the journey based on traffic flow and is also synchronized with visual direction indicators. A message display shared between the SCB and the linked social network makes it possible to promote sharing paths and destinations.
  • Lock: a QR code allows you to lock and unlock the SCB by scanning it with your smartphone.
  • Video streams are captured by two cameras on the SCB and transmitted via 5G to a platform that analyzes and transforms them into actionable data, creating space for various use cases, including a tourism & culture application that identifies parking spaces on the way. Let’s imagine a biker taxi service equipped with SCB in Paris and also in the 36000 communes of France. The person sitting behind the drivers, who isn’t pedaling, has a tablet that allows him to do other things like work and or identify interesting places nearby. They can activate a description of a monument, places on the tablet, or even an audio guide.
  • Black box: Captured video streams can also be used by insurance companies, for example for a premium model based on the "dangerousness" of a driver’s behavior. This black box can also be used as proof during an accident.


What does it mean for you to come to CES?

For us it is a great honor to be part of ENGIEs booth, since we share their values (sustainable mobility, renewable energy, smart cities and hydrogen).

With ENGIE we would like to build an ecosystem of partners who want to create value in the eco-mobility space: service providers, technology partners, builders, industrialists, why not insurers and banks with whom we can build a more complete solution.

Open Innovation is an important keyword for Nokia and the CES is an opportunity to highlight this approach while meeting potential partners. All the major players will be in once place with great visibility.

For its partners, Nokia can provide access to the 5G revolution, the power of the Internet of Things with billions of connected objects, and use cases (many of which are still unknown). Nokia is one of the first to offer all these solutions, whether in the cloud or through IT, Ultra Broadband, Artificial Intelligence or big data.

At our part of the booth, we will show the Solar Connected Bike, mobility and connectivity solutions with great added value, and we expect significant returns. For us this project combines a way to address well-being and a real business. CES is an open door to a better future.

What would be the ideal meeting for you at CES?

It would be a great joy for us to be able to compare our innovations to American ones and also to meet Isabelle Kocher to share the story of our adventure and our passion, especially since we share the same values as ENGIE.

And of course ENGIE would be an ideal business partner for us. We are complementary: to make the connected world talk with the world of energy and to create convergences between the two.

Also, projects supported by ENGIE such as Solar Impulse or Energy Observer have inspired us a lot, especially at the start of our project. After the Sky and Sea Observatory, we would very humbly like to suggest creating a terrestrial version of Energy Observer! Energy Observer goes around the world and conveys beautiful messages and values that are we share, and we could relay them about the ground-level world by showing that there is a business model behind it.

 So when is the world tour in Solar Connected Bike going to happen?


How do you see mobility in 2030?

This is a topic we think about a lot, since we are associated with the Nokia Bell Labs, and it is a key theme in particular at the Movin Saclay platform.

Mobility is a very important ecological issue: cities are completely saturated. In 2050 two out of three people will live in megacities and more than two billion cars are expected to be on the road by 2050 according to the UN.

It is a crucial subject. With the saturation of modes of transport and the role of cars and public transport in everyday life. We must find alternatives. Among them is the Solar Connected Bike, which respects our ecological values and the principle of sharing while also happening to be a nice way to move.

We would like to see the creation of motorways specifically for bicycles, autonomous and alternative vehicles like those that already exist in Belgium and Denmark. Creating specific infrastructure for eco-mobility vehicles could make travel more fluid, even though we know that it takes decades to implement real urbanization plans.

The Solar Connected Bike also has the advantage of making the bike accessible to everyone, since in an eco-mobility context you don’t need to know how to ride a bike. Older, poorer or very young people can use since they are behind it, thus helping to optimize the use of this means of transport.

Source: Christine Leroy

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