Bicycle thieves may have met their match. A start-up called PubLock hopes that its RFID-enabled bike lock solution will eliminate some of the 1.5 million bikes estimated to be stolen each year.
Engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania designed the new lock system to be built directly into a bike rack and activated by the swipe of an RFID card.
While there no immediate plans to commercialize the solution, it could be a hit at college campuses and busy downtown areas that offer public bike sharing systems.
College campuses are known as a haven for bike theft and represent a logical target for PubLock, especially those that have deployed RFID-enabled student ID cards that could interact with the lock system.
The University of Pennsylvania is deploying RFID-enabled student ID cards next year. Of the 23 bikes that were stolen on the UPenn campus in September, nearly half resulted from improper lock usage, a problem the PubLock solution could eliminate.
As seen in the video, a simple swipe of the RFID card unlocks the lock, a 20-pound cable that ensures the safe storage of the bicycle. Upon return, the owner simply swipes the card a second time to unlock it.
The PubLock system utilizes an RFID reader that can read unique RFID tags through the polycarbonate lid on the electronics housing, allowing for secure and easy use.