Innovators of Things: How Cowboy uses cellular connectivity to protect riders and their bikes
Consumers are increasingly choosing e-bikes as a way to reduce vehicles on the road. In fact, demand is so high, the e-bike industry in Europe is expected to triple to €37bn by 2030. And today, e-bikes are more than just a way to get from one place to another. Cowboy, a leading manufacturer of connected electric bikes, is a prime example of leveraging the latest technology to innovate and elevate a simple and effective method of transportation. And just this year, they were recognized by TIME as one of the best inventions with the Cowboy C4.
When Cowboy launched in 2017, the founders set out to use connectivity to improve their riders’ experience. First, the team tested a bluetooth-enabled solution. This meant when riders came within range, sensors on the bike would communicate with the mobile app to unlock the bike. When a rider comes within range of the bike, it automatically will unlock, creating a seamless start to the ride. Through the app, riders can also navigate to where they are going, track their rides, and connect with other riders to become part of the Cowboy community.
But Cowboy knew there was more than could be done.
Adding cellular connectivity
Cowboy had two challenges it was looking to solve for that required connectivity beyond bluetooth: theft prevention and crash detection.
Bluetooth technology is a one way to provide a seamless experience for an owner to lock and unlock their bike. But what happens when the bike is locked up or out of range from the owner? That’s where cellular connectivity came into play.
Leveraging cellular connectivity, Cowboy created a Find My Bike feature that allows riders to locate their bike at all times. Using GPS connectivity, users have been able to pinpoint the location of a stolen bike and work with local police departments to recover a stolen vehicle.. This feature has been so successful that more than 70% of stolen bikes have been recovered.
Safety is the number one priority for Cowboy. With that in mind, the team challenged themselves to use connectivity to make their vehicles the safest on the market. By installing sensors on the bike that detect when a crash occurs, an alert is sent directly to the Cowboy network.
In this instance, Cowboy sends a message to the rider to see if they are ok. If they don’t respond, the system automatically reaches out to the rider’s emergency contact with their live location.
The Cowboy team will check in with the rider once again after any incident to provide a truly personal touch.
An integrated experience
Seamlessly integrating both bluetooth and cellular connectivity into Cowboy bikes has enabled the team to create a unique set of features that turns the bike into a complete personalized experience for their riders.