VELO-CITY 2019 – SMART PEDAL PITCH, ‘The Aftermath’

25/06/2019 6:00 pm

Cycling in cities across the world are ready to scale up and this includes Dublin. Smart Docklands, who organized and hosted the event with the European Cycle Federation and Cycle Industries Europe, wanted to seek technology and data driven proposals that could address short term improvements in either of the following areas: better cycling data, safety, security, and/or intelligent transport systems.

The Smart Pedal Pitch programme, part of the Velo-City 2019 conference, was a competition by various start-up companies to present their latest, innovative cycling technology. Out of 42 start-ups that applied, ten were selected by the Dublin City Council to pitch their latest innovations in smart cycle tech. The ten participants included:

  • Umotional (Cyclers), a cycling app that leverages big data, AI and crowdsourcing to make riding safer and more rewarding;
  • IXOW, who combines anti-theft devices by making bikes unusable to thieves;
  • Boreal Bikes, a bike that digitalizes and integrates V2x and ITS to reduce human error in road accidents;
  • CYCL, who pitched the Winglight, a handlebar mounted turn signal improving rider visibility when changing directions;
  • Beryl, shared electric cargo bikes held at bike stations, all unlocking through the Beryl app;
  • Geovelo, a free GPS application that guides cyclists on bike friendly roads;
  • ClicksnLinks, virtual reality bikes that allows the rider to experience current or future cycling in the city;
  • Bikeep, smart bike racks that enable easy and secure bike locking and e-bike charging;
  • Cyc-lok, the first Smart and IoT individual bike locker system, booked and paid by an app 24/7; and
  • Nüweil, e-powered cargo bike trailers.

On the first day of the conference, all ten start-ups got the opportunity to practice their pitch at Google’s European headquarters in Dublin. This gave participants a warm-up round and a good chance to pitch their innovative ideas in front of a local and global tech audience. For the main event, held at the Convention Centre ‘Track B’ stage, participants presented their ideas to a panel of 5 judges and three finalists were picked. The final pitch was in front of all Velo-City attendees at the plenary main conference stage, with winner and runner-ups decided entirely through an audience vote.

(Jamie Cudden, Smart City Lead of Dublin City Council explaining who our 10 shortlisted companies were)

And, the winner? Nüwiel, a Hamburg-based start-up that has developed e-powered cargo bike trailers geared towards last mile delivery and city logistics. These sturdy and durable electric bike trailers can transport up to 200kg of cargo. Nüweil has proven to make urban transport more efficient and sustainable, and they have successfully completed delivery trials with UPS, IKEA, and Airbus. They were not only awarded a grand prize of 10,000 Euros but will also spend at least three months working with Dublin’s Smart City Project Team to pilot their solution right here in Dublin. Second place, Cyclers, received a cash price of 7,500 Euros and third place, CYCL, received a cash price of 5,000 Euros will also get to pilot their solutions with the Smart Dublin teams.

(The top 3 contestants, left to right: Jan from Umotional, Kajetan from Nuwiel, and Liberatus from Cycl)

Velo-City 2019 in Dublin demonstrated how cycling as opposed to cars are better for urban cities. Cycling is better for the environment, takes up less space, and is better for our health. Conference events included thought-provoking and stimulating topics on climate change, cycling innovations, road safety, inclusion, and health.

The upshot is that the conference was a huge success in providing a forum for cycling enthusiasts to address important roadblocks and troubleshoot problems to improve cycling in cities, and many workshops provided an optimistic and innovative set of solutions. Overall, the trend is set to improve cycling and cycling provided services across Dublin and large cities in the world.

An event like Velo-City 2019 helps push public perception of cycling in urban cities in the right direction. It not only gives sustainable transport the right stage to influence positive infrastructure and policy change, but brings to the forefront creative solutions to the major mobility challenges cities are facing.

Lydia Arce is a visiting research assistant and intern at ENABLE and Smart Docklands in Dublin. She is an Intensive Psychology major at the University of California, Santa Cruz.