“SoBi is the first public bike share system to rely entirely on wireless technology for tracking, locating and unlocking bikes,” reports Mashable. SoBi stands for “Social Bicycles,” a start-up that plans its first pilot run in New York City this fall. SoBi has a fleet of bikes equipped with a GPS and cellular device, powered by a dynamo engaged with the rear wheel of the bikes. GPS technology will allow potential users with online access (either through their computers, mobile phones, or one of several kiosks throughout the city) to locate an available bicycle. SoBi also tracks the routes bicycles take, allowing administrators to create or redistribute hubs and users to track distance traveled, calories burned, and emissions saved. It’s also got an element of FourSquare, allowing bikers to see their nearby biking friends.
SoBi also makes the claim that their system will be much cheaper to deploy than other bike sharing systems currently in place. Part of this efficiency is due to financial incentives they offer the user to return the bike to a lower-density hub (minimizing the need for crews to go out and physically redistribute bikes themselves). This, in turn, also makes the solution potentially cheaper for users as well. If you return your bike to one of these locations, you could be rewarded with refunds toward membership fees or gift certificates from sponsors. A win-win!