Canada introduces RFID into biking
RFID chips prevent theft and track inventory
An iPod is not the only device that can be docked into an electronic charger… bikes will soon be docking into RFID connections in Montreal. According to Slashdot and PC World, the city of Montreal has set up bike stations which are powered by solar panels and docked into RFID connections in order to enable users to pick up a bike for us as easily as they can pick up a hamburgers from the nearest McDonald’s. The added feature allows bikes to be tracked via RFID to both tell users how many bikes are availalbe at every stations and to prevent theft.
In a city like Montreal, where space is severely limited, the bike stations come as a welcome addition. The flexibility, easy assembly and on-demand expandibility gives the Public Bike System in Montreal the ability to build upon their already popular model. Costs are limited to since solar panels power the stations. The solar panels also allow the bike stations to be moved anywhere as the RFID connection can be re-established as long as the solar panels are used.
RFID chips are put into place on every bike unit, enabling those who oversee the program to track the location and condition of the bicycles at any moment. This system, much like the Zipcar system used in the United States and Canada, also allows users to go online and reserve bicycles beforehand, allowing users to see the location of available bikes at specific stations around town. Once the user gets to the station, they are able to pay with a credit card or a special bike card issued by the Public Bike System.
While this initiative will launch this September, more than 2,000 bicycles are supposed to be available by 2010 under the system. However, with the implmenetation of RFID to deter theft and expand ease of use, and solar panels to power the stations at no or minimal cost, the pre-determined numbers should grow in the future.