Our client manufactures, installs and manages bicycle rental schemes. Traditionally these schemes involved a manual locking system without knowing if the bicycle returned was the same as rented out. The system had to be economic to install and manufacture so a single unit could handle several bicycles. In addition, the system would have to uniquely identify the user so they could be charged for the rental time period.
A system was required that would allow the user to be uniquely identified and also the bicycle itself so the location of the bicycle could be “tracked” and the user charged for the rental time period and/or distance travelled. A system was proposed that used two types of RFID technology, the first where the user was issued with an RFID card (similar to the contactless payment cards used in many cities around the world) to uniquely identify the person.
And second, where the bicycles themselves were fitted with an RFID tag so when they were “docked and locked” back into the rental station their unique ID could be read. The challenge was to reduce the cost and complexity of the system and avoid having separate RFID Readers for each bicycle locking position.
IB Technology provided the OEM-MICODE Reader board to read the users payment card and supplied a Reference Design and chipset for a multiplexed antenna Reader system to read the bicycle tags. The user s ID was transmitted via a GSM cellular telephone module to the networ k database that controlled the locking/unlocking of the bicycles and logged times and locations. The bicycles themselves were fitted with a per manently attached cable lock which had a low – frequency passive RFID tag embedded inside the plastic end cap. Each bicycle rental unit had three “locking” holes where the cable ends could be inserted and then locked so several bicycles could be handled by each unit. The RFID Reader with three multiplexed antenna was incorporated on the main PCB as a Reference Design and so the end solution benefited from a quick time-to-market solution at minimum cost and with minimum engineering effort. The RFID Reader software automatically scanned the three multiplexed antenna and
reported the bicycle ID back to the main processor with minimum system overhead.