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Title:
METHOD, CONTROL MODULE AND SYSTEM FOR OPERATING MOTOR ASSISTED HUMAN POWERED VEHICLES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/180028
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention provides a method, performed by a processing unit (6) of a control module (5), for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle (2). The method comprises performing theft detection by means of a theft detection system of the vehicle (2). The method comprises generating a vehicle theft signal in case theft of the vehicle (2) is detected. The method comprises starting a procedure for safely halting the vehicle (2) in case the vehicle theft signal is generated. The procedure for safely halting the vehicle (2) comprises the step of setting, via a communication unit (8) of the control module (5), the motor (3) of the vehicle (2) to a first support level for resisting the movement of the vehicle (2).

Inventors:
LANGER, Cédric (Industrielaan 1029 Bus 1, 3730 Hoeselt, 3730, BE)
WINTER, Wolfgang (Industrielaan 1029 Bus 1, 3730 Hoeselt, 3730, BE)
Application Number:
EP2019/056857
Publication Date:
September 26, 2019
Filing Date:
March 19, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
CLICK & BIKE (Industrielaan 1029 Bus 1, 3730 Hoeselt, 3730, BE)
International Classes:
G08B13/00; B60R25/32; B60R25/33; B60W50/00; B62H5/00; B62M6/00; G06Q10/00; G08B15/00
Foreign References:
DE102012217775A12014-04-03
US20160001782A12016-01-07
US20120323438A12012-12-20
JP2006273142A2006-10-12
CA2655495A12010-08-27
US8949022B12015-02-03
US20120323438A12012-12-20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GEVERS PATENTS (Holidaystraat 5, 1831 Diegem, 1831, BE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle (2), wherein the method comprises the steps performed by a processing unit (6) of a control module (5) of the vehicle (2) of:

performing theft detection by means of a theft detection system of the vehicle (2);

generating a vehicle theft signal in case theft of the vehicle (2) is detected; and

starting a procedure for safely halting the vehicle (2) in case the vehicle theft signal is generated, wherein the procedure for safely halting the vehicle (2) comprises the step of setting, via a communication unit (8) of the control module (5), the motor (3) of the vehicle (2) to a first support level for resisting the movement of the vehicle (2).

2. The computer implemented method according to claim 1 , wherein the step of performing theft detection comprises:

retrieving a first velocity of the vehicle (2) and a location of the vehicle (2) from a geolocation unit (7) of the control module (5);

retrieving, via a communication unit (8) of the control module (5), sensor data from at least one first sensor (9) on the vehicle (2), wherein the at least one first sensor (9) is configured for detecting the motion of a moving vehicle component indicative of the velocity of the vehicle (2), and determining a second velocity of the vehicle (2) from the retrieved sensor data from the at least one first sensor (9),

wherein the vehicle theft signal is generated based on at least one of the first velocity, the second velocity and the location of the vehicle (2).

3. The computer implemented method according to claim 2, wherein the vehicle theft signal is generated in case the difference between the first velocity and the second velocity is larger than a predetermined first threshold.

4. The computer implemented method according to claim 2 or 3, wherein the vehicle theft signal is generated in case the location of the vehicle (2) is outside of a predetermined geographical area.

5. The computer implemented method according to any one of the claims 2-4, wherein the procedure for safely halting the vehicle (2) is started in case the vehicle theft signal is generated and the second velocity is larger than zero.

6. The computer implemented method according to any one of the claims 1 -5, wherein the first support level is changed gradually or stepwise for increasingly resisting the movement of the vehicle (2).

7. The computer implemented method according to any one of the claims 1 -6, at least in combination with claim 2, wherein the procedure for safely halting the vehicle (2) comprises the step of activating, via the communication unit (8), a remotely operable locking unit (4) of the vehicle (2) when the second velocity is below a predetermined second threshold.

8. The computer implemented method according to any one of the claims 1 -7, at least in combination with claim 2, wherein the at least one first sensor (9) is selected from the list consisting of a sensor for detecting the motion of a wheel of the vehicle (2), a sensor for detecting the motion of a driving element via which a driver of the vehicle (2) drives the vehicle (2), and a sensor for detecting the motion of a transmission element connecting the driving element to the wheel.

9. The computer implemented method according to any one of the claims

1 -8, at least in combination with claim 2, wherein the method comprises the step of sending, via the communication unit (8), the vehicle theft signal together with the location of the vehicle (2) to a remote server (13).

10. A computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle (2), wherein the method comprises the steps performed by a processing unit (6) of a control module (5) of the vehicle (2) of:

retrieving a location of the vehicle (2) from a geolocation unit (7) of the control module (5);

receiving, via a communication unit (8) of the control module (5), periodically transmitted transmit signals from at least one transmitter (12) on a vehicle component which is removably attached to the vehicle (2);

generating a vehicle component theft signal in case of absence of the transmit signals; and

sending, via the communication unit (8), the vehicle component theft signal together with the location of the vehicle (2) to a remote server (13).

1 1 . A computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle (2), wherein the method comprises the steps performed by a processing unit (6) of a control module (5) of the vehicle (2) of: retrieving a location of the vehicle (2) from a geolocation unit (7) of the control module (5);

retrieving, via a communication unit (8) of the control module (5), a status signal from at least one second sensor (10) on the vehicle (2), wherein the at least one second sensor (10) is configured for monitoring a status of a vehicle component indicative of the requirement of repair or replacement of the vehicle component; and

sending, via the communication unit (8), the location of the vehicle (2) and the status signal to a remote server (13) if the status signal indicates the requirement of repair or replacement of the vehicle component.

12. A computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle (2), wherein the method comprises the steps performed by a processing unit (6) of a control module (5) of the vehicle (2) of:

receiving an identifier identifying the driver of the vehicle (2);

retrieving, via a communication unit (8) of the control module (5), a driver profile associated with the received identifier from a remote server (13), the driver profile comprising a driver experience level indicating a maximum support level for the motor (3) of the vehicle (2);

limiting, via the communication unit (8), a support level of the motor (3) of the vehicle (2) for assisting the movement of the vehicle (2) to the maximum support level indicated by the driver experience level.

13. The computer implemented method according to claim 12, wherein the method further comprises the steps of:

periodically retrieving a first velocity of the vehicle (2) and a location of the vehicle (2) from a geolocation unit (7) of the control module (5);

periodically retrieving, via the communication unit (8), sensor data from the at least one first sensor (9) on the vehicle (2), wherein the at least one first sensor (9) is configured for detecting the motion of a moving vehicle component indicative of the velocity of the vehicle (2), and determining a second velocity of the vehicle (2) from the retrieved sensor data from the at least one first sensor

(9) ;

updating the driver experience level in the retrieved driver profile based on the retrieved location, the retrieved first velocity, and the retrieved sensor data from the at least one first sensor (9); and sending, via the communication unit (8), the updated driver profile to the remote server (13).

14. The computer implemented method according to claim 12 or 13, wherein the method further comprises the steps of:

periodically retrieving, via the communication unit (8), sensor data from at least one third sensor (1 1 ) on the driver of the vehicle (2), wherein the at least one third sensor (1 1 ) is configured for monitoring a health parameter of the driver; updating the driver experience level in the retrieved driver profile based on the retrieved sensor data from the at least one third sensor (1 1 ); and

sending, via the communication unit (8), the updated driver profile to the remote server (13).

15. A computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle (2), wherein the method comprises the steps performed by a processing unit (6) of a control module (5) of the vehicle (2) of:

retrieving a location of the vehicle (2) from a geolocation unit (7) of the control module (5);

retrieving, via a communication unit (8) of the control module (5), a location profile from the remote server (13) based on the location of the vehicle (2), the location profile comprising location specific data indicating a maximum support level for the motor (3) of the vehicle (2);

limiting, via the communication unit (8), a support level of the motor (3) of the vehicle (2) for assisting the movement of the vehicle (2) to the maximum support level indicated by the location specific data.

16. The computer implemented method according to claim 15, wherein the location specific data comprises traffic regulation data, traffic information data, road condition data and weather data.

17. A control module (5) for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle (2), the control module (5) comprising:

a processing unit (6) programmed for performing the computer implemented method according to any one of the claims 1 -9, optionally at least one of the computer implemented methods according to any one of the claims 10-16; a geolocation unit (7) operatively connected to the processing unit (6) and configured for receiving geolocation data, such as location and velocity, from a remote geolocation system; and

a communication unit (8) operatively connected to the processing unit (6) and configured for communication with a motor (3) of the vehicle (2), at least one first sensor (9) on the vehicle (2) configured for detecting the motion of a moving vehicle component indicative of the velocity of the vehicle (2), optionally a remote server (13), optionally at least one second sensor (10) on the vehicle (2) configured for monitoring a status of a vehicle component indicative of the requirement of repair or replacement of the vehicle component, optionally at least one third sensor (1 1 ) on a driver of the vehicle (2) configured for monitoring a health parameter of the driver, optionally at least one transmitter (12) on a vehicle component which is removably attached to the vehicle (2), and optionally a remotely operable locking unit (4) of the vehicle (2).

18. A system (1 ) for operating motor assisted human powered vehicles

(2), the system (1 ) comprising:

at least one motor assisted human powered vehicle (2), the at least one vehicle (2) comprising a motor (3) which can be set at different support levels for assisting and for resisting a driver of the at least one vehicle (2);

the control module (5) according to claim 17, wherein the control module

(5) is attached to the at least one vehicle (2);

at least one first sensor (9) on the at least one vehicle (2) configured for detecting the motion of a moving vehicle component indicative of the velocity of the at least one vehicle (2), and configured for communication with the communication unit (8) of the control module (5);

optionally a remote server (13) configured for communication with the communication unit (8) of the control module (5);

optionally at least one second sensor (10) on the at least one vehicle (2) configured for monitoring a status of a vehicle component indicative of the requirement of repair or replacement of the vehicle component, and configured for communication with the communication unit (8) of the control module (5); optionally at least one third sensor (1 1 ) for use on a driver of the vehicle (2) and configured for monitoring a health parameter of the driver, and configured for communication with the communication unit (8) of the control module (5); optionally at least one transmitter (12) on a vehicle component which is removably attached to the at least one vehicle (2), and configured for transmitting to the communication unit (8) of the control module (5);

optionally at least one remotely operable locking unit (4) on the at least one vehicle (2) configured for communication with the communication unit (8) of the control module (5).

19. The system (1 ) according to claim 18, wherein the control module (5) is integrated in the at least one vehicle (2) such that is not visible from the outside of the at least one vehicle (2).

Description:
Method, control module and system for operating motor assisted human powered vehicles

Technical field

The present invention relates to a computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle, such as for example an electric bicycle, and in particular for operating the vehicle in such a way that theft is prevented and that the vehicle is used in a safe manner. Furthermore, the present invention also relates to a control module for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle, and a system for operating motor assisted human powered vehicles.

Background art

Human operated motor assisted vehicles, such as for example electric bicycles, are expensive assets. Therefore it is important to protect such vehicles from both theft and damage. Certainly when the vehicle is personal property, but even more in case of a plurality of vehicles forming a rental fleet.

Methods exist, such as for example described in US 8,949,022 B1 , where the position of a vehicle is monitored via a remote server by means of geolocation, such as for example GPS or cellular triangulation. Theft of the vehicle may then be detected if the vehicle moves outside of a predetermined geographical area, after which the remote server can take the necessary action to try to stop the theft of the vehicle, such as for example notify the owner or driver of the vehicle, notify the police, or sound an alarm on the vehicle. However, with such methods theft is only detected with a delay after the vehicle has moved outside of the predetermined geographical area, which decreases the chances of quickly recovering the vehicle after theft.

Other methods are for example described in US 2012/0323438 A1.

Disclosure of the invention

It is an aim of the present invention to provide an improved method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle which enables theft of the vehicle to be quickly detected. A further aim of the present invention is to improve the safety of the vehicle, and prevent damage to the vehicle. This aim is achieved according to the invention with a computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle showing the technical characteristics of the first independent claim.

Therefore, the present invention provides, in a first aspect, a computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle. The method comprises steps performed by a processing unit of a control module of the vehicle. The method comprises the step of retrieving a first velocity of the vehicle and a location of the vehicle from a geolocation unit of the control module. The method comprises the step of retrieving sensor data from at least one first sensor on the vehicle. The at least one first sensor is configured for detecting the motion of a moving vehicle component indicative of the velocity of the vehicle. The sensor data is retrieved from the at least one first sensor via a communication unit of the control module. The method comprises the step of determining a second velocity of the vehicle from the retrieved sensor data from the at least one first sensor. The method comprises the step of generating a vehicle theft signal in case the difference between the first velocity and the second velocity is larger than a predetermined first threshold. Optionally, the method comprises the step of sending the vehicle theft signal together with the location of the vehicle to a remote server. The vehicle theft signal and the location of the vehicle are sent via the communication unit.

A theft detection system is thus formed by the control module and the at least one sensor, which theft detection system is configured for performing theft detection. The control module generates a vehicle theft signal when theft of the vehicle is detected. The vehicle theft signal is based on the first velocity and the second velocity. It should however be clear that theft detection of the vehicle may also be performed by means of other suitable theft detection systems known to the skilled person.

The inventors have found that a comparison of the first velocity retrieved from the geolocation unit with the second velocity determined from the sensor data of the at least one first sensor enables a quick detection of theft of the vehicle very shortly after theft occurs. Indeed, when the vehicle is being driven or operated in a normal way the first velocity and the second velocity are normally approximately equal, and their difference is thus approximately zero. Thus, when the first velocity and the second velocity differ from each other a certain, i.e. their difference is larger than the first predetermined threshold, the vehicle is being operated in an inconsistent manner indicating a possible theft of the vehicle, which is then reported to the remote server together with the location of the vehicle. The remote server may then take further steps in order to try to stop the theft, such as warning the driver or owner of the vehicle or warning the police, and further monitoring the location the vehicle. The processing unit of the control module of the vehicle may also be programmed to take further steps in response to a generated vehicle theft signals, such as sounding an alarm on the control module or on the vehicle, or taking steps to halt the vehicle.

The difference between the first velocity and the second velocity could for example occur when the vehicle is loaded onto a transport vehicle such as a van or a truck which drives away with the vehicle, when the vehicle is lifted up completely or partially by a person who walks away with the vehicle, when the geolocation unit or the at least one first sensor is tampered with, etc.

Another advantage of the method according to the present invention is that it does not necessarily require continuous monitoring of the location of the vehicle by means of a remote server in order to detect possible theft of the vehicle.

The motor assisted human powered vehicle may for example be an electric bicycle, but may be any other vehicle known by the skilled person which are powered by a human and assisted therein by a motor.

The difference between the first velocity and the second velocity should be understood as the absolute difference between the first velocity and the second velocity, with the absolute difference being the absolute value of the difference.

In an embodiment of the computer implemented method according to the present invention the method comprises the step of generating the vehicle theft signal when the location of the vehicle is outside of a predetermined geographical area. The method comprises the step of starting the procedure for safely halting the vehicle in case the vehicle theft signal is generated and the location of the vehicle is outside of the predetermined geographical area.

A theft detection system is thus formed by the control module, which theft detection system is configured for performing theft detection. The control module generates a vehicle theft signal when theft of the vehicle is detected. The vehicle theft signal is based on the location of the vehicle. It should however be clear that theft detection of the vehicle may also be performed by means of other suitable theft detection systems known to the skilled person.

In an embodiment of the computer implemented method according to the present invention the method comprises the step of starting a procedure for safely halting the vehicle in case the vehicle theft signal is generated. In an embodiment of the computer implemented method according to the present invention the method comprises the step of starting a procedure for safely halting the vehicle in case the vehicle theft signal is generated and the second velocity is larger than zero.

Providing a procedure for safely halting the vehicle is beneficial for a quick recovery of the vehicle after it has been stolen, and is also advantageous to prevent damage to the vehicle and injury to the driver of the vehicle when the vehicle is being stopped too abruptly after theft. The vehicle may for example be safely halted by operating a brake system of the vehicle, or by using the motor of the vehicle to resist the movement of the vehicle.

In an embodiment of the computer implemented method according to the present invention the procedure for safely halting the vehicle comprises the step of setting, via the communication unit, the motor of the vehicle to a first support level for resisting the movement of the vehicle.

The inventors have found that the motor of a motor assisted human operated vehicle can be used beneficially to stop or halt the vehicle in a safe way by instructing the motor to operate in a reverse way, i.e. in such a way that the motor resists the movement of the vehicle and makes it difficult for the driver to continue driving the vehicle.

In an embodiment of the computer implemented method according to the present invention the first support level is changed gradually or stepwise for increasingly resisting the movement of the vehicle.

Gradually or stepwise increasing the resistance of the motor of the vehicle against the movement of the vehicle is beneficial to ensure that the vehicle is brought to a halt safely.

In an embodiment of the computer implemented method according to the present invention the procedure for safely halting the vehicle comprises the step of activating, via the communication unit, a remotely operable locking unit of the vehicle when the second velocity is below a predetermined second threshold.

Activating the remotely operable locking unit for locking the vehicle is beneficial to prevent the vehicle from being further used and increases the chance of recovery of the vehicle. Activating the remotely operable locking unit after the vehicle has sufficiently slowed down, i.e. the second velocity of the vehicle has dropped below the predetermined second threshold, is beneficial to prevent damage to the vehicle. The remotely operable locking unit may be provided on the vehicle in addition to another lock on the vehicle.

In an embodiment of the computer implemented method according to the present invention the at least one first sensor is selected from the list consisting of a sensor for detecting the motion of a wheel of the vehicle, a sensor for detecting the motion of a driving element via which a driver of the vehicle drives the vehicle, and a sensor for detecting the motion of a transmission element connecting the driving element to the wheel. The at least one first sensor is preferably a sensor for detecting the motion of a wheel of the vehicle.

In a second aspect, the present invention provides a computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle. The method comprises steps performed by a processing unit of a control module of the vehicle. The method comprises the step of receiving periodically transmitted transmit signals from at least one transmitter on a vehicle component which is removably attached to the vehicle. The transmit signals are received from the at least one transmitter via a communication unit of the control module. The method comprises the step of generating a vehicle component theft signal in case of absence of the transmit signals. The method comprises the step of sending the vehicle component theft signal together with the location of the vehicle to a remote server. The vehicle component theft signal and the location of the vehicle are sent via the communication unit.

This aspect of the present invention is beneficial for quickly detecting the theft of vehicle components which are removably attached to the vehicle and thereby preventing theft of said vehicle components. This embodiment is also beneficial for the safe use of the vehicle because it assures that no vehicle components are missing which might be required for the safe use of the vehicle. In a third aspect, the present invention provides a computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle. The method comprises steps performed by a processing unit of a control module of the vehicle. The method comprises the step of retrieving a status signal from at least one second sensor on the vehicle. The at least one second sensor is configured for monitoring a status of a vehicle component indicative of the requirement of repair or replacement of the vehicle component. The status signal is retrieved from the at least one second sensor via a communication unit of the control module. The method comprises the step of sending the location of the vehicle and the status signal to a remote server if the status signal indicates the requirement of repair or replacement of the vehicle component. The location of the vehicle and the status signal are sent to the remote server via the communication unit.

This aspect of the present invention is beneficial for the safe use of the vehicle because it allows broken vehicle components to be detected, and ensures that no vehicle components are missing which might be required for the safe use of the vehicle.

In a fourth aspect, the present invention provides a computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle. The method comprises steps performed by a processing unit of a control module of the vehicle. The method comprises the step of receiving an identifier identifying the driver of the vehicle. The identifier may be received via a communication unit of the control module. The method comprises the step of retrieving a driver profile associated with the received identifier from a remote server. The driver profile comprises a driver experience level indicating a maximum support level for the motor of the vehicle. The driver profile is retrieved from the remote server via the communication unit. The method comprises the step of limiting a support level of the motor of the vehicle for assisting the movement of the vehicle to the maximum support level indicated by the driver experience level. The support level of the motor of the vehicle is limited via the communication unit.

This aspect of the present invention is beneficial for the safe use of the vehicle because it prevents that the driver of the vehicle can set the support level of the motor too high without having sufficient experience to drive the vehicle at higher support levels and the associated higher speeds. This is beneficial to prevent accidents and possible damage to the vehicle.

In an embodiment of the computer implemented method according to the present invention the method comprises the step of periodically retrieving the first velocity of the vehicle and the location of the vehicle from a geolocation unit of the control module. The method comprises the step of periodically retrieving the sensor data from at least one first sensor on the vehicle. The at least one first sensor is configured for detecting the motion of a moving vehicle component indicative of the velocity of the vehicle. The sensor data is retrieved from the at least one first sensor via the communication unit. The method comprises the step of updating the driver experience level in the retrieved driver profile based on the retrieved location, the retrieved first velocity, and the retrieved sensor data from the at least one first sensor. The method comprises the step of sending the updated driver profile to the remote server. The updated driver profile is sent to the remote server via the communication unit.

This embodiment is beneficial for the safe use of the vehicle over time because it keeps the driver experience level in the driver profile up to date, and prevents as such that there may arise discrepancies between the actual experience of the driver and the driver experience level in the driver profile.

In an embodiment of the computer implemented method according to the present invention the method comprises the step of periodically retrieving sensor data from at least one third sensor on the driver of the vehicle. The at least one third sensor is configured for monitoring a health parameter of the driver. The sensor data is retrieved from the at least one third sensor via the communication unit. The method comprises the step of updating the driver experience level in the retrieved driver profile based on the retrieved sensor data from the at least one third sensor. The method comprises the step of sending the updated driver profile to the remote server.

This embodiment is beneficial for the safe use of the vehicle over time because it keeps the driver experience level in the driver profile up to date, and prevents as such that there may arise discrepancies between the actual experience of the driver and the driver experience level in the driver profile. Furthermore, this embodiment is also beneficial for the health of the driver of the vehicle. In a fifth aspect, the present invention provides a computer implemented method for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle. The method comprises steps performed by a processing unit of a control module of the vehicle. The method comprises the step of retrieving the location of the vehicle from a geolocation unit of the control module. The method comprises the step of retrieving a location profile from a remote server based on the location of the vehicle. The location profile comprises location specific data indicating a maximum support level for the motor of the vehicle. The location profile is retrieved from the remote server via a communication unit of the control module. The method comprises the step of limiting a support level of the motor of the vehicle for assisting the movement of the vehicle to the maximum support level indicated by the location specific data. The support level of the motor of the vehicle is limited via the communication unit.

This aspect of the present invention is beneficial for the safe use of the vehicle because it prevents that the driver of the vehicle can set the support level of the motor too high and drive too hard at locations where the speed of the vehicle should be limited, for example because of traffic regulations or because of the presence of busy traffic. This is beneficial to prevent accidents and possible damage to the vehicle.

In an embodiment of the computer implemented method according to the present invention the location specific data comprises traffic regulation data, traffic information data, road condition data and weather data. The traffic regulation data may for example comprise the traffic rules such as speed limits which are in force at different locations. The traffic information data may for example comprise data about traffic jams.

Furthermore, the present invention provides a control module for operating a motor assisted human powered vehicle. The control module comprises a processing unit. The processing unit is programmed for performing the computer implemented method according to the aspects of the present invention. The control module comprises a geolocation unit. The geolocation unit is operatively connected to the processing unit. The geolocation unit is configured for receiving geolocation data, such as location and velocity, from a remote geolocation system. The control module comprises a communication unit. The communication unit is operatively connected to the processing unit. Optionally, the communication unit is configured for communication with a remote server. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the communication unit is configured for communication with a motor of the vehicle. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the communication unit is configured for communication with at least one first sensor on the vehicle configured for detecting the motion of a moving vehicle component indicative of the velocity of the vehicle. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the communication unit is configured for communication with at least one second sensor on the vehicle configured for monitoring a status of a vehicle component indicative of the requirement of repair or replacement of the vehicle component. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the communication unit is configured for communication with at least one third sensor on a driver of the vehicle configured for monitoring a health parameter of the driver. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the communication unit is configured for communication with at least one transmitter on a vehicle component which is removably attached to the vehicle. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the communication unit is configured for communication with a remotely operable locking unit of the vehicle. Preferably, the communication unit is configured for bidirectional communication.

Furthermore, the present invention provides a system for operating motor assisted human powered vehicles. The system comprises at least one motor assisted human powered vehicle. The at least one vehicle comprises a motor. The motor can be set at different support levels for assisting and for resisting a driver of the at least one vehicle. The system comprises the control module according to the present invention. The control module is attached to the at least one vehicle. Optionally, the system comprises a remote server. The remote server is configured for communication with the communication unit of the control module. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the system comprises at least one first sensor on the at least one vehicle. The at least one first sensor is configured for detecting the motion of a moving vehicle component indicative of the velocity of the at least one vehicle. The at least one first sensor is configured for communication with the communication unit of the control module. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the system comprises at least one second sensor on the at least one vehicle. The at least one second sensor is configured for monitoring a status of a vehicle component indicative of the requirement of repair or replacement of the vehicle component. The at least one second sensor is configured for communication with the communication unit of the control module. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the system comprises at least one third sensor for use on a driver of the vehicle. The at least one third sensor is configured for monitoring a health parameter of the driver. The at least one third sensor is configured for communication with the communication unit of the control module. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the system comprises at least one transmitter on a vehicle component which is removably attached to the at least one vehicle. The at least one transmitter is configured for transmitting to the communication unit of the control module. Depending on the aspect of the present invention, the system comprises at least one remotely operable locking unit on the at least one vehicle. The at least one locking unit is configured for communication with the communication unit of the control module.

In an embodiment of the system according to the present invention the control module is integrated in the at least one vehicle such that is not visible from the outside of the at least one vehicle. Hiding the control module in the vehicle such that it is not visible is beneficial to prevent tampering with the control module.

Brief description of the drawings

The invention will be further elucidated by means of the following description and the appended figures.

Figure 1 shows a schematic representation of a system for operating motor assisted human powered vehicles according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 2 shows a flow chart of a method for operating motor assisted human powered vehicles according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 3 shows a flow chart of a method for operating motor assisted human powered vehicles according to a further embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 4 shows a flow chart of a method for operating motor assisted human powered vehicles according to a further embodiment of the present invention. Figure 5 shows a flow chart of a method for operating motor assisted human powered vehicles according to a further embodiment of the present invention. Modes for carrying out the invention

The present invention will be described with respect to particular embodiments and with reference to certain drawings but the invention is not limited thereto but only by the claims. The drawings described are only schematic and are non-limiting. In the drawings, the size of some of the elements may be exaggerated and not drawn on scale for illustrative purposes. The dimensions and the relative dimensions do not necessarily correspond to actual reductions to practice of the invention.

Furthermore, the terms first, second, third and the like in the description and in the claims, are used for distinguishing between similar elements and not necessarily for describing a sequential or chronological order. The terms are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances and the embodiments of the invention can operate in other sequences than described or illustrated herein.

Moreover, the terms top, bottom, over, under and the like in the description and the claims are used for descriptive purposes and not necessarily for describing relative positions. The terms so used are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances and the embodiments of the invention described herein can operate in other orientations than described or illustrated herein.

The term“comprising”, used in the claims, should not be interpreted as being restricted to the means listed thereafter; it does not exclude other elements or steps. It needs to be interpreted as specifying the presence of the stated features, integers, steps or components as referred to, but does not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps or components, or groups thereof. Thus, the scope of the expression “a device comprising means A and B” should not be limited to devices consisting only of components A and B. It means that with respect to the present invention, the only relevant components of the device are A and B.

Figure 1 shows a schematic representation of a system 1 for operating motor assisted human powered vehicles 2 according to an embodiment of the present invention. The system 1 comprises a motor assisted human powered vehicle 2. This is a vehicle 2 which is powered by means of human force in order to move the vehicle 2, but which also comprises a motor 3 for assisting the driver of the vehicle 2 in powering the vehicle 2. Such a motor assisted human powered vehicle 2 may for example be an electric bicycle, but can also be other types of vehicles. In the schematic representation of Figure 1 , the system 1 comprises a single vehicle 2, but in other embodiments of the system 1 according to the present invention, the system 1 may comprise a plurality of vehicles 2 configured in a similar way as the vehicle 2 shown in Figure 1.

The motor 3 of the vehicle 2 is configured such that it can be set at different support levels, wherein each support level is associated with a different amount of power which the motor 3 has to deliver for assisting a driver of the vehicle 2 in moving the vehicle 2. In this way the motor 3 can be set to deliver more power for assisting the driver of the vehicle 2 when the vehicle 2 is moving uphill.

The motor 3 is also configured such that it can be operated in the opposite direction, i.e. for resisting a driver of the vehicle 2 in moving the vehicle 2. Correspondingly, the motor 3 is a configured such that it can be set at different support levels, wherein each support level is associated with a different amount of power which the motor 3 has to deliver for resisting a driver of the vehicle 2 in moving the vehicle 2. This may for example be used for preventing the driver of the vehicle 2 from driving too fast with the vehicle 2 under certain circumstances or to bring the vehicle 2 to a halt if needed.

In order to set the motor at the different support levels, the motor 3 may be provided with a motor control unit (not shown) which is configured to receive a support level, e.g. as a digital or analogue signal, and configured to operate the motor 3 in response to a received support level in such a way that it delivers the amount of power for assisting or resisting the driver of the vehicle as indicated by the received support level.

The motor 3 is also configured such that a maximum support level can be set, which limits the support level which can be set to a certain maximum. This may for example be used to prevent an inexperienced driver of the vehicle 2 from too much motor support which the driver is not able to handle, or to limit the motor support in areas where there is a speed limit. The vehicle 2 of the system 1 is also provided with a remotely operable locking unit 4. The remotely operable locking unit 4 is configured such that the vehicle 2 can be locked remotely without requiring manual intervention. Therefore, the remotely operable locking unit 4 may be configured to receive a locking instruction, e.g. as a digital or analogue signal, and configured to activate in response to a received locking instruction, a lock in such a way that the vehicle 2 is locked and can no longer be moved. The remotely operable locking unit 4 may be a normal lock which is operated manually, but in addition configured to be operated remotely. The vehicle 2 may comprise additional remotely operable locking units 4, for example as backup or for locking different wheels of the vehicle 2.

The system 1 comprises a first sensor 9 on the vehicle 2. The first sensor 9 is configured for detecting the motion of a moving vehicle component indicative of the velocity of the vehicle 2. The first sensor 9 is configured for transmitting its sensor data indicative of the velocity of the vehicle. The velocity of the vehicle 2 can be derived from the sensor data from the first sensor 9, which velocity offers valuable information about the way the vehicle 2 is being operated. This information can according to the present invention be used in a beneficial way for operating the vehicle 2 for preventing theft and for operating the vehicle 2 in a safe way.

The first sensor 9 may be a sensor which is configured for detecting the motion of a wheel of the vehicle 2. The first sensor 9 may also be a sensor which is configured for detecting the motion of a driving element by means of which a driver of the vehicle 2 drives the vehicle 2, such as for example the pedal of a bicycle. The first sensor 9 may also be a sensor configured for detecting the motion of a transmission element which connects the driving element of the vehicle 2 to the wheel of the vehicle 2.

The system 1 may comprise a plurality of the first sensors 9, each configured for detecting the motion of different moving vehicle components indicative of the velocity of the vehicle 2. First sensors 9 may for example be provided for detecting the motion of each of the wheels of the vehicle 2.

The system 1 also comprises at least one second sensor 10 on the vehicle 2. The second sensor 10 is configured for monitoring a status of a vehicle component indicative of the requirement of repair or replacement of said vehicle component. The second sensor 10 is configured for transmitting a status signal which reports about the status of the vehicle component which the second sensor 10 monitors, and thereby also indicates whether said vehicle component requires repair or replacement. These status signals provide valuable information which can be used beneficially for operating the vehicle 2 in a safe way. The second sensor 10 may for example be a sensor configured for monitoring the status of a light, a brake, a battery, a motor, a tyre, a gear, a locking unit, etc. of the vehicle 2

The system 1 also comprises at least one third sensor 1 1 for use on a driver of the vehicle 2. The third sensor 1 1 is configured for monitoring a health parameter of the driver of the vehicle 2. The third sensor 1 1 may for example be a sensor configured for monitoring the heart rate or the transpiration of the driver of the vehicle 2. The third sensor 1 1 is configured for transmitting sensor data about the monitored health parameter of the driver. These sensor data offer valuable information for operating the vehicle 2 in a safe way according to the physical capabilities of the driver of the vehicle 2.

The system 1 also comprises at least one transmitter 12. The transmitter 12 is arranged on a vehicle component which is removably attached to the vehicle 2. Said vehicle component may be a vehicle component which is required for the safe use of the vehicle 2, or which is an expensive vehicle component of the vehicle 2. The transmitter 12 may for example be arranged on the wheels, the brakes, the battery, the lights, etc. of the vehicle 2. The transmitter 12 is configured for repeatedly transmitting transmit signals. The transmit signal may for example be a simple identifier of the vehicle component on which the transmitter 12 is arranged. The transmit signals offer valuable information about the presence of the vehicle component on the vehicle 2, and the absence of these transmit signals may indicate theft of said vehicle component. Preferably, the transmitter 12 is fixed in such a way to the vehicle component that it is very difficult to remove the transmitter 12 from the vehicle component. The transmitter 12 may also be integrated into the vehicle component, such that it is not visible from the outside.

The system 1 also comprises a control module 5 which is configured for operating the vehicle 2. The control module 5 is attached to the vehicle 2. Preferably, the control module 5 is integrated into the vehicle 2 in such a way that the control module 5 is not visible from the outside of the vehicle 2.

The control module 5 comprises a processing unit 6 for operating the vehicle 2. Therefore, the processing unit 6 is programmed for performing the computer implemented method according to the present invention. This method is discussed in more detail below, and shown schematically in Figures 2-5.

The control module 5 also comprises a geolocation unit 7, which is operatively connected to the processing unit 6. The geolocation unit 7 is configured for receiving geolocation data, such as location and velocity, by means of a remote geolocation system. In the control module 5, the velocity may also be derived from the location by repeatedly polling the location with the geolocation unit 7, and calculating the velocity from the change of location over time. This calculation may be performed by the geolocation unit 7 or by the processing unit 6. The geolocation unit 7 may for example make use of satellite navigation systems such as GPS, Galileo, Glonass, Beidoe, etc. The geolocation unit 7 may also make use of cellular triangulation to obtain the geolocation data. With the control module 5 being attached to the vehicle 2, the geolocation unit 7 is thus able to determine the location and velocity of the vehicle 2. The velocity and the location of the vehicle 2 offer valuable information about the way the vehicle 2 is being operated. This information can according to the present invention be used in a beneficial way for operating the vehicle 2 for preventing theft and for operating the vehicle 2 in a safe way.

The control module 5 also comprises a communication unit 8, which is operatively connected to the processing unit 6. The communication unit 8 is configured for communication with the different components of the system 1 , such as the motor 3 of the vehicle 2, the one or more first sensors 9, the one or more second sensors 10, the one or more third sensors 1 1 , the one or more transmitters 12 and the one or more remotely operable locking units 4.

The communication with the motor 3 of the vehicle 2 comprises communicating support levels and maximum support levels from the processing unit 6 to the motor 3. The communication with the first sensors 9 comprises communicating sensor data from the first sensors 9 to the processing unit 6. The communication with the second sensors 10 comprises communicating status signals from the second sensors 10 to the processing unit 6. The communication with the third sensors 1 1 comprises communicating sensor data from the third sensors 1 1 to the processing unit 6. The communication with the transmitters 12 comprises communicating transmit signals from the transmitters 12 to the processing unit 6. The communication with the remotely operable locking unit 4 comprises communicating locking instructions from the processing unit 6 to the remotely operable locking unit 4.

The communication unit 8 may comprise a plurality of communication modules (not shown), each provided for communication according to different communication protocols, such as for example Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or NarrowBand - Internet of Things (NB-loT). The communication may be performed over a wired connection or may be wireless.

The system 1 also comprises a remote server 13. The remote server 13 is configured for communication with the communication unit 8 of the control module 5. The remote server 13 is used for providing the processing unit 6 of the control module 5 with data required in the computer implemented method for operating the vehicle 2, and for retrieving information from the processing unit 6 about the theft and the safe use of the vehicle 2.

Figure 2 shows a flow chart of the computer implemented method of the present invention by means of which the processing unit 6 of the control module 5 operates the vehicle 2 of the system 1 in order to prevent theft of the vehicle 2.

The main implementation of the method is shown in full lines, and additions to the main implementation are shown in dotted and striped lines.

In a first step, the processing unit 6 of the control module retrieves the velocity and the location of the vehicle 2 from the geolocation unit 7 of the control module 5. Hereby, the velocity of the vehicle 2 retrieved from the geolocation unit 7, will be referred to as the first velocity V1. At the same time, the processing unit 6 also retrieves, via he communication unit 8, from the first sensor 9 the sensor data which is indicative of the velocity of the vehicle. From the retrieved sensor data the processing unit 6, then also calculates the velocity of the vehicle 2. The velocity of the vehicle 2 calculated from the sensor data from the first sensor 9, will be referred to as the second velocity V2.

The first velocity V1 and the second velocity V2 should be approximately equal when the vehicle 2 is being driven in a normal way. Thus, when the first velocity V1 and the second velocity V2 differ from each other, this indicates that the vehicle 2 is not operated in a normal way and is possibly stolen. The difference between the first velocity V1 and the second velocity V2 could for example occur when the vehicle is loaded onto a van or a truck which drives away with the vehicle, when the vehicle is lifted up completely or partially by a person who walks away with the vehicle, when the geolocation unit 7 or the first sensor 9 is tampered with, etc.

Therefore, the processing unit 6 calculates in a next step of the method the absolute difference, i.e. the absolute value of the difference, between the first velocity V1 and V2. If this absolute difference | V2-V 11 is larger than a predetermined first threshold T1 , then the processing unit 6 generates a vehicle theft signal. This vehicle theft signal may be a simple message that the vehicle 2 has been stolen, and may also comprise an identifier of the vehicle 2 if the system 1 comprises a plurality of vehicles. The vehicle theft signal may however also comprise any other useful information.

The processing unit 6 then sends, via the communication unit 8, the vehicle theft signal together with the location of the vehicle 2 to the remote server 13, which can then take further steps in order to try to stop the theft, such as warning the owner of the vehicle 2 or warning the police, and further monitoring the location the vehicle 2.

In addition to the theft detection by means of the comparison between the first velocity V1 and the velocity V2, the method according to an embodiment of the present invention is also provided with theft prevention by means of geo fencing, which is shown in the flow chart of Figure 2 with the dotted lines.

Here, the processing unit 6 also compares the location of the vehicle, which was retrieved from the geolocation unit 7, with the a predetermined geographical area. This predetermined geographical area may be stored in a memory of the control module 5 or may be retrieved from the remote server 13 via the communication unit 8. The predetermined geographical area may be a fixed area on a map. The predetermined geographical area may also be a perimeter around the driver of the vehicle 2, which perimeter follows the location of the driver determined for example from a device carried by the driver, such as a smartphone. If the location of the vehicle 2 is outside of the predetermined geographical area, then the processing unit 6 also generates a vehicle theft signal, and sends it together with the location of the vehicle 2 to the remote server 13, which can then take further steps in order to try to stop the theft.

A further addition to the method according to the present invention for operating the vehicle 2 in order to prevent the theft of the vehicle 2 is shown in striped lines in Figure 2.

Here, the processing unit 6 checks, after a vehicle theft signal has been generated, if the second velocity V2 is larger than 0 m/s. If this is the case, this indicates that the stolen vehicle 2 is being driven an not transported in a van or truck for example. In this case, the processing unit 6 starts a procedure for safely halting the vehicle 2. In this procedure, the processing unit 6 makes use of the motor 3 of the vehicle 2 to slowly bring the vehicle 2 to halt without causing damage to the vehicle 2 or injuring the person driving the vehicle 2.

Therefore, the processing unit 6 sets, via the communication unit 6, the motor 3 of the vehicle 2 to a first support level for resisting the movement of the vehicle 2. If this first support level is not sufficient to bring the vehicle 2 to a halt, then the processing unit 6 may in a further step increase, via the communication unit 8, the first support level. Thereby, the first support level may be increased gradually or stepwise. Then, if the vehicle 2 has sufficiently slowed down, i.e. the second velocity V2 has dropped below a predetermined second threshold T2, the processing unit 6 activates, in a next the step, the remotely operable locking unit 4. This by sending, via the communication unit 8, a locking instruction to the remotely operable locking unit 8. The remotely operable locking unit 4 then locks the vehicle 2 such that it can no longer be driven. This increases the chance of quickly recovering the stolen vehicle 2.

Figure 3 shows a flow chart of the computer implemented method according to an embodiment of the present invention by means of which the processing unit 6 of the control module 5 operates the vehicle 2 of the system 1 in order to prevent theft of vehicle components of the vehicle 2.

Hereby, the method makes use of the transmitters 12 which are arranged on vehicle components which are removably attached to the vehicle. These transmitters 12 are repeatedly transmitting their transmit signals, which are received by the processing unit 6 of control module 5 via the communication 8. If the vehicle components on which the transmitters are arranged, are still attached to the vehicle, then the processing unit 6 keeps receiving the transmit signals. If a vehicle component on which a transmitter 12 is arranged is stolen and taken away from the vehicle 2, then the processing unit 6 no longer receives the transmit signals. In this case, i.e. the absence of the transmit signals, the processing unit 6 generates a vehicle component theft signal. This vehicle component theft signal may be a simple message that the vehicle component on which the transmitter 12 is arranged, has been stolen, but may comprise any other useful information. Then, the processing unit 6 sends, via the communication unit 8, the vehicle component theft signal together with the location of the vehicle 2 to the remote server 13. Thereby, the location of the vehicle is retrieved by the processing unit 6 from the geolocation unit 7 of the control module 5, if it is not yet available to the processing unit 6. The remote server 13 can then take further steps, such as informing the owner of the vehicle 2 or the police about the theft, or providing a replacement for the stolen vehicle component.

Figure 4 shows a flow chart of the computer implemented method according to an embodiment of the present invention by means of which the processing unit 6 of the control module 5 operates the vehicle 2 of the system 1 in order to ensure that the vehicle 2 is used in a safe manner.

Hereby, the method makes use of the second sensors 10 on the vehicle 2 which are configured for monitoring the status of a vehicle component which is indicative of the requirement of repair or replacement of the vehicle component. To check if any of the vehicle components which are being monitored by a second sensor 10 require repair or replacement, the processing unit 6 retrieves, via the communication unit 8, from the second sensor 10 the status signal which reports about the status of the vehicle component which the second sensor 10 monitors. Then, if the status signal indicates the requirement of repair or replacement of the vehicle component, the processing unit 6 sends the status signal together with the location of the vehicle to the remote server 13 via the communication unit 8. Thereby, the location of the vehicle is retrieved by the processing unit 6 from the geolocation unit 7 of the control module 5, if it is not yet available to the processing unit 6. The remote server 13 can then take the necessary steps to provide for the repair or replacement of the vehicle component. Figure 5 shows a flow chart of the computer implemented method according to an embodiment of the present invention by means of which the processing unit 6 of the control module 5 operates the vehicle 2 of the system 1 in order to ensure that the vehicle 2 is used in a safe manner.

Hereby, the method is provided for limiting the support level of the motor 3 of the vehicle 2 according to at least one of the environmental circumstances at the location of the vehicle 2 and the experience of the driver of the vehicle 2.

To take the environmental circumstances into account, the processing unit 6 first retrieves the location of the vehicle 2 from the geolocation unit 7 of the control module 5, if the location of the vehicle 2 is not yet available to the processing unit 6. Then, the processing unit 6 retrieves, via the communication unit 8, a location profile from the remote server 13 based on the location of the vehicle 2. This location profile comprises location specific data indicating a maximum support level for the motor 3 of the vehicle 2. The location specific data may for example comprise traffic regulation data, i.e. traffic rules such as speed limits. The location specific data may also comprise traffic information data, such as information about the current state of the traffic at the given location, e.g. information about traffic jams. The traffic regulation data may also comprise information about the conditions of the roads at the given location or information about the weather conditions at the given location. These location profiles are kept up to date on the remote server 13.

In the next step, the processing unit 6 then limits, via the communication unit 8, a support level of the motor 3 of the vehicle 2 for assisting the movement of the vehicle 2 to the maximum support level indicated by the location specific data in the retrieved location profile. In this way it can be prevented that the driver of the vehicle 2 can drive too fast and unsafely under environmental circumstances which do not allow high speeds of the vehicle 2, such as for example speed limits, bad weather conditions, etc.

To take the experience of the driver into account, the processing unit 6 receives, via the communication unit 8, an identifier identifying the driver of the vehicle 2. The identifier may for example be transmitted to the control module 5 by means of a communication device of the driver, such as a smartphone, or by means of a input device provided on the vehicle 2 itself. Then, the processing unit 6 retrieves, via the communication unit 8, from the remote server 13 a driver profile associated with the received identifier. The driver profile comprises a driver experience level indicating a maximum support level for the motor 3 of the vehicle 2.

In an intermediate step, the driver experience level in the retrieved driver profile may be updated by the processing unit 6 in accordance with the present experience of the driver. The update may be based on the first velocity and the location of the vehicle 2, which are periodically retrieved by the processing unit 6 from the geolocation unit 7. The update may also be based on sensor data which are periodically retrieved from the second sensors 10 by the processing unit 6 via the communication unit 8, and from which sensor data the second velocity of the vehicle 2 can be derived. The update may also be based on sensor data which are periodically retrieved from the third sensors 1 1 by the processing unit 6 via the communication unit 8, which sensor data give information about the health condition of the driver. If these data for example indicate that the driver has been driving faster with the vehicle 2 and with a lower heart rate, then the maximum support level for the motor of the vehicle indicated by the driver experience level in the retrieved driver profile can be adapted accordingly to the improved health condition and experience of the driver.

If the retrieved driver profile has been updated, the updated driver profile is sent by the processing unit 6, via the communication unit 8, to the remote server 13 where it is stored for later retrieval by the processing unit 6.

In the next step, the processing unit 6 then limits, via the communication unit 8, a support level of the motor 3 of the vehicle 2 for assisting the movement of the vehicle 2 to the maximum support level indicated by the driver experience level in the retrieved driver profile or the updated driver profile if the retrieved driver profile has been updated. In this way it can be prevented that the driver of the vehicle 2 can drive too fast if he is not experienced enough, which is beneficial for the safety of the vehicle 2 and of the driver.

References

1 system 35 4 locking unit

2 vehicle 5 control module

3 motor 6 processing unit geolocation unit 5 1 1 third sensor communication unit 12 transmitter first sensor 13 remote server second sensor