New track and trace security solution aims to ‘break the cycle of e-bike thefts’

A new track and trace security solution developed by G4S and AXA is aiming to make the theft of e-bikes ‘a lot harder to get away with’.

The popularity of e-bikes has risen in recent years, with around 34 million sold worldwide in 2017. In the Netherlands close to a million new bicycles of all types are sold every year. Five years ago e-bikes accounted for a small percentage of total bike sales, but now around 400,000 of the bikes sold each year are electronic.

E-bikes are also three times more likely to be stolen than normal bikes in the Netherlands, with the latest estimates showing that thefts of e-bikes have more than doubled in the last three years to around 25,000 a year. With the average e-bike now costing over €2000 in the Netherlands, and up to €450 a year to insure, G4S has teamed up with Conneqtech and AXA Bike Security to develop a track and trace solution, AXA-IN, to deter would be thieves and help to locate stolen e-bikes.

“For e-bike owners in the Netherlands, insurance has become a real issue in the last couple of years” said Corinne Eeken, who oversees the project for G4S Monitoring and Patrol. “Thefts of e-bikes are so frequent that it has become very expensive to insure them, and most insurance providers won’t insure the e-bike at all in major cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. There was a clear need to come up with a solution to make e-bikes more difficult and risky to steal, and that is exactly what we’ve created with AXA.”

A device is hardwired into the e-bike which sends out a GPS signal of the e-bike location if it is reported stolen. As soon as the owner discovers that the e-bike has been taken, they can report it via the AXA-IN app on their smartphone. This alert goes through to the G4S control room in Amsterdam which can locate the e-bike via the GPS signal and work with the police to bring it back to its owner.

“The AXA-IN device is built into the e-bike and can’t be removed without causing significant damage to the e-bike and breaking it’s electrical circuit.” Eeken explained. “We can instantly locate the stolen bike using the GPS, our Patrol guard verifies the position of the stolen bike and we have an agreement with the police that the recovery of vehicles with an alarm will be treated with high urgency.”

With the agreement of the bike’s owner, G4S can also use the device to put in place an ‘electronic fence’ around the bike when it is parked, which sends an automatic alert to the control centre if it unexpectedly moves, falls over or is removed from the indicated area.

“The ‘electronic fence’ means that we can become aware that a theft is taking place straight away, and work with the police to apprehend the thief before the bike is taken” said Eeken. “If the thief does get away with the e-bike before police arrive, track and trace kicks in and we can guide the police to wherever the stolen bike is taken to.

“Our secure solution makes it far more difficult to steal an e-bike and not get caught. Thieves will quickly learn to think twice before targeting a bike secured by AXA-IN, and people buying stolen e-bikes from unauthorised sellers shouldn’t be surprised when the police knock on their door to get it back.”

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