SoftBank announces IoT-based bicycle sharing system

By Mami Akasaka

SoftBank Corp and Openstreet, which was spun off from SoftBank by using a "new business proposal system," have begun offering the "Hello Cycling" IoT-based bicycle sharing system.

The two companies plan to offer the service across Japan by tying up with service providers in many regions.

Users sign up for the service and obtain accounts. Then, it becomes possible to easily look for registered bicycle parking lots called "Station," reserve a bicycle and pay a fee by using a smartphone or personal computer.

It is possible to return a rented bike to a parking lot different from the one where it was rented, making it easy to use the service for moving from one place to another.

Also, if a smart card for transportation (e.g. Suica) is registered with the system, the "smart lock" of a bicycle can be unlocked just by touching the operation panel of the bicycle with the card, making it possible to rent a bicycle without making a reservation.

Service providers can introduce the Hello Cycling system by attaching a smart lock, which features a GPS (global positioning system) and communication functions, and a special operation panel to each bicycle. The usage situation of bicycles and the vacancies in parking lots can be checked on a website. And fees can be set in real time in accordance with the situation. Any kinds of bicycles can be used with the system.

Sharing Service Inc in Tokyo launched "Share Pedal Nakano," a bicycle sharing service using the Hello Cycling system, in Nakano Ward, on Nov 11.

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Pity Japanese cities do not have the cycling infrastructure to go with this measure. Riding a bicycle around town usually involves cycling with pedestrians on footpaths or dicing with death by sharing the road (and the gutter) with car drivers. There are virtually no (and never will be) specialized cycling lanes in Japanese cities. No space and obviously no inclination by central or local governments to create such space.

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Pity Japanese cities do not have the cycling infrastructure to go with this measure.

Yet more more people in Japan commute by bicycle than in other developed countries.

Japan is one of the few places where such programs could actually work. France's bike share programs have been a disaster, with rampant theft and vandalism causing huge losses.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Despite far from ideal conditions, Tokyo still has a very rate of bicycle use. With a decent bike share system and, then, hopefully, more dedicated space for riding, Tokyo will easily become one of the world`s top cycling cities.

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Yet more more people in Japan commute by bicycle than in other developed countries.

Do you have a source on that? because as far as I am aware Denmark and The Netherlands tend to lead anything related to cycling.

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This sounds awesome. I would like to look at it's viability for most polluted Indian cities... how to proceed ?

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I think if you look at the population figures of Denmark and The Netherlands and compare them to Japan's you will see that the MORE PEOPLE part of Sangetsu's statement is probably close enough.

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Doesn't Docomo already have a similar service?

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If you find your chances in Europe it will not add to being "number great" economy terms but maybe add to enjoy.

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Japan won't become the worlds top cycling city due to the lack of space especially in city areas. It's already so troublemsome to walk on footpaths without being run over by cyclist using their cellphones. The law and order is very poor when it comes to this. Of course there are strict rules about this in Japan but the implementation of these rules are really bad. The police doesn't do enough and the usual citizens turn a blind eye to law breaking cyclist! Japan will become the next Vietnam or China with more bicycles...

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