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Title:
STATION FOR LOCKING AND RECHARGING A SCOOTER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/048718
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention refers to a station for locking a scooter including: a rail for inserting the scooter; a mechanical stop positioned at the end of the rail; a first detector to detect the correct positioning of the scooter in contact with the mechanical stop; an actuator that activates a piston equipped with a movable mechanical bar capable of passing from a first unlocking position of the scooter to a second locking position of the scooter, and vice versa. The mechanical bar in the locked position is positioned between the rear wheel and a relief protuberance on the platform of the scooter located near the rear wheel. In this way, the scooter can be securely locked in the locking position in a simple but effective way.

Inventors:
MACCARONI GIANNI (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2020/058237
Publication Date:
March 18, 2021
Filing Date:
September 04, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GREEN GO SRLS (IT)
International Classes:
B62H3/08; B62H5/00; B62K3/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2018015511A12018-01-25
Foreign References:
EP3473532A12019-04-24
US20160311334A12016-10-27
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CACCIAMANI, Clizia (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims.

1. Station (1) for locking a scooter (2) provided with a front wheel (3), a rear wheel (4) and a platform (5) placed between said front wheel (3) and said rear wheel (4), wherein said station (1) includes: a) a rail (6) designed to facilitate the scooter rear wheel (4) insertion; b) a mechanical stop (7) positioned at the end of the rail (6) opposite the inlet side for the scooter (2); c) a first detector (16) adapted to detect the correct positioning of the scooter (2) in contact with said mechanical stop (7); d) a scooter locking/unlocking device including:

- an electric actuator (19) adapted to receive from said first detector (16) the signal related to said correct positioning;

- a piston (8) driven by said electric actuator (19);

- a mechanical bar (9) fixed to one end of said piston (8), suitable for being operated by said piston (8) to pass from a first unlocking position, wherein the scooter (2) is not locked to the station (1), to a second locking position, wherein the scooter (2) is locked to the station (1), and vice versa;

- a vertically arranged support plate (10) able to act as a support for at least a portion of said mechanical bar (9) in said second locking position, wherein a portion of said mechanical bar (9) is able to rest, in said second locking position, between said rear wheel (4) of the scooter (2), or a protection support (15) arranged around it (4), and a relief protuberance (11) placed near said rear wheel (4) on said scooter platform (5).

2. Station (1) for locking a scooter according to claim 1, wherein said support plate (10) is provided in its upper part with an element consisting of two arms (12) and a groove (13) between the two arms (12) to house an end (14) of said mechanical bar (9) in said second locking position. 3. Station (1) for locking a scooter according to any one of the preceding claims, which further comprises a first luminous alarm device able to inform the user about the correct positioning of the scooter (2) detected by said first detector (16).

4. Station (1) for locking a scooter according to any one of the preceding claims, which further comprises a second detector (17) able to detect the correct positioning of said mechanical bar (9) in the locked position.

5. Station (1) for locking a scooter according to any one of the preceding claims, which further comprises a second luminous alarm device able to inform the user about the correct positioning of said mechanical bar (9) detected by said second detector ( 17).

6. Station (1) for locking a scooter according to any one of the preceding claims, which further comprises a protective cover arranged around said locking/unlocking device.

7. Station (1) for locking a scooter according to any one of the preceding claims, which further comprises at least one photovoltaic panel for scooter recharging autonomous management, in the absence of an electrical network.

8. Station (1) for locking a scooter according to any one of the preceding claims, which further comprises at least an induction plate and a coil positioned inside the scooter (2), connected to the positive and negative terminals of its battery, capable of transmitting electricity to recharge the scooter (2).

9. Station (1) for locking a scooter according to any one of the preceding claims, which further comprises a device for identifying the scooter (2) locked in said station (1).

10. Method for locking a scooter (2) in a location (1) for locking a scooter, wherein said scooter (2) is provided with a front wheel (3), a rear wheel (4) and a footboard (5) placed between said front wheel (3) and said rear wheel (4), the method comprising the steps of: i) inserting the rear wheel (4) of the scooter (2) into a rail (6); ii) let said rear wheel (4) of the scooter (2) being in contact with a mechanical stop (7) positioned at the end of the rail (6) opposite the inlet side for the scooter (2); iii) detecting through a first detector (16) the correct positioning of the scooter (2) in contact with said mechanical stop (7); iv) sending to an electric actuator (19) a signal relating to the correct positioning of the scooter (2); v) upon receipt of said signal, allowing the electric actuator (19) to activate a mechanical piston (8) provided with a mechanical bar (9) fixed to an end of said piston (8); vi) allowing said mechanical bar (9) to pass from a first unlocking position, wherein the scooter (2) is not locked to said station (1), to a second locking position, wherein the scooter (2) is locked to said station (1), wherein a portion of said mechanical bar (9) is able to position itself, in said second locking position, between said rear wheel (4) of the scooter (2), or a protection support (15) arranged around it (4), and a relief protuberance (11) placed near said rear wheel (4) on said scooter platform (5).

Description:
Title: “Station for locking and recharging a scooter”

DESCRIPTION Field of the Invention

The present invention refers to a station for parking a scooter; in particular, the present invention refers to a station for locking an electric scooter.

State of the Art.

Nowadays the use of scooters, in particular of electric scooters, is increasingly developing in cities to allow people to quickly move around without having to use a car or other bulky transport means. In particular, the use of rental systems for such electric scooters, which can be picked up and subsequently released after use anywhere in the city, is increasing.

However, there is the problem related to the scooter thefts; in fact, being of relatively low weight and being left in open spaces easily accessible by anyone, they are subject to theft by malicious people who can easily pick up the scooter and load it, for example, on vans or other transport vehicles without specialized machinery.

Due to this problem, efforts have recently been made to find anti-theft solutions for stowing scooters when not in use.

The international patent application published with n. WO 2018/015511 A1 discloses a storage device for electric vehicles comprising: at least one storage unit capable of receiving an electric vehicle in a parking configuration; and an interactive terminal comprising a user interface and an electronic management system capable of detecting the electric vehicle in the parking configuration and of processing loan and return requests. Each storage unit comprises a frame defining a lower housing intended to receive a lower part of an electric vehicle in parking configuration, where the lower part comprises at least one wheel of the electric vehicle. However, the vehicle locking system described in this international patent application is particularly complex and not very effective.

Therefore, the Applicant of the present patent application has found the need to create a new locking device for scooters that is effective and easy to use.

Summary of the Invention According to a first aspect, the present invention refers to a station for locking a scooter such as that one indicated in claim 1.

The Applicant of the present application has in fact surprisingly found that the technical problem listed above can be solved in an effective and reliable way by means of a station for locking a scooter provided with a front wheel, a rear wheel and a platform placed between said front wheel and said rear wheel, wherein said station includes: a) a rail designed to facilitate the scooter rear wheel insertion; b) a mechanical stop positioned at the end of the rail opposite the inlet side for the scooter; c) a first detector able to detect the correct positioning of the scooter in contact with said mechanical stop; d) a scooter locking/unlocking device including:

- an electric actuator adapted to receive from said first detector the signal related to said correct positioning; - a piston driven by said electric actuator;

- a mechanical bar fixed to one end of said piston, suitable for being operated by said piston to pass from a first unlocking position, wherein the scooter is not locked to the station, to a second locking position, wherein the scooter it is locked to the station, and vice versa;

- a vertically arranged support plate able to act as a support for at least a portion of said mechanical bar in said second locking position, wherein a portion of said mechanical bar is able to rest, in said second locking position, between said rear wheel of the scooter, or a protection support thereof arranged around it, and a relief protuberance placed near said rear wheel on said scooter platform.

In this way, the scooter can be securely locked in the locking position in a simple but effective way.

In fact, the mechanical bar, whose descent is activated only when the rear wheel of the scooter comes into contact with the mechanical stop positioned in correspondence with the final part of the rail through which the scooter is inserted into the locking position of the present invention, is able to fit into the existing space between the rear wheel of the scooter and the relief protuberance onto the platform near the rear wheel itself.

The rear wheel of the scooter thus remains blocked by the mechanical bar, preventing the scooter from being removed until the mechanical bar is lifted up again following a verified procedure for unlocking the scooter.

According to a preferred embodiment, the station for locking a scooter of the present invention consists of a laser-cut steel structure with parts to be assembled and fixed by welding and bending the sheet. According to a preferred embodiment, said rail is made of steel.

According to a preferred embodiment, said mechanical stop consists of a steel bar, beyond which the scooter cannot go.

According to a preferred embodiment, said first detector is a first micro switch which is operated by the pressure of the rear wheel of the scooter against said mechanical stop.

According to a preferred embodiment, the station for locking a scooter of the present invention further comprises a first luminous alarm device designed to advise the user about the correct positioning of the scooter in the station for locking the scooter detected by said first detector.

In this way, the switching on of a warning light warns the user that the scooter is ready to be locked in the locking position.

According to a preferred embodiment, said mechanical piston is able to move with vertical movement so as to activate the movement of said mechanical bar, preferably made of steel.

According to a preferred embodiment, said support plate is provided in its upper part with an element consisting of two arms and a groove between them, thus determining a sort of fork.

In this way, the support plate allows one end of said mechanical bar to be inserted into said groove at the end of its descent, in said second locking position, with a few millimeters gap both on the right side and on the left side. The scooter is thus locked in an extremely safe way related to both forward and reverse movements. According to a preferred embodiment, the station for locking a scooter of the present invention further comprises a second detector able to detect the correct positioning of said mechanical bar in said support plate, in the locked position. According to a preferred embodiment, the station for locking a scooter of the present invention further comprises a second luminous alarm device able to inform the user about the correct positioning of said mechanical bar in said support plate detected by said second detector. A second warning light is thus activated, positioned above the locking position, which advise the user that the scooter has been correctly locked.

According to a preferred embodiment, the station for locking a scooter of the present invention further comprises a third detector, for example a third micro switch, suitable for activating the procedure for terminating the rental, if the scooter has been subjected to a rental procedure.

In this way it is possible to allow the user who has hired the scooter up to that moment to be free from contractual obligations relating to the rental.

According to a preferred embodiment, the station for locking a scooter of the present invention further comprises a third light alarm device designed to advice the user about the end of the rental procedure.

According to a preferred embodiment, the first micro switch and the electric actuator interact with each other by means of electrical connections.

In this way, if someone tries to extract the scooter while the mechanical bar is being lowered for locking, the completion of the locking procedure will be prevented by stopping the descent of the mechanical bar, with consequent impossibility for the user to exit the rental service.

According to a preferred embodiment, the station for locking a scooter of the present invention further comprises a protective cover arranged around said locking/unlocking device. In this way, the station for locking the scooter is inserted in a closed cabinet system, and therefore designed to avoid tampering attempts.

According to a preferred embodiment, the station for locking a scooter of the present invention further comprises at least one photovoltaic panel for a scooter recharging autonomous management, in the absence of an electrical network.

According to a preferred embodiment, the station for locking a scooter of the present invention further comprises at least an induction plate and a coil positioned inside the scooter, connected to the positive and negative terminals of its battery, capable of transmitting electricity to recharge the scooter. According to a preferred embodiment, the station for locking a scooter of the present invention further comprises a device for identifying the scooter locked in said station.

In this way, through, for example, an RFID (radio-frequency identification) type device positioned inside the structure and connected to a management software, such as the Raspberry type, it is possible to calculate the rental service time even if the scooter is returned to a different location from the departure one.

According to a preferred embodiment, the locking station is also provided with a GPS system for its localization by users who, through a suitable application, will be continuously updated on the availability of free parking stations and of free bookable scooters.

According to a second aspect, the present invention relates to a method for locking a scooter in a station for locking a scooter such as that one indicated in claim 10.

The Applicant of the present application has in fact surprisingly found that the technical problem encountered above can be solved in an effective and reliable way by means of a method for locking a scooter in a station for locking a scooter, wherein said scooter is provided with a front wheel, a rear wheel and a platform placed between said front wheel and said rear wheel, the method comprising the steps of: i) inserting the rear wheel of the scooter into a rail; ii) let said rear wheel of the scooter being in contact with a mechanical stop positioned at the end of the rail opposite the inlet side for the scooter; iii) detecting through a first detector the correct positioning of the scooter in contact with said mechanical stop; iv) sending to an electric actuator a signal relating to the correct positioning of the scooter; v) upon receipt of said signal, allowing the electric actuator to activate a mechanical piston provided with a mechanical bar fixed to an end of said piston; vi) allowing said mechanical bar to pass from a first unlocking position, wherein the scooter is not locked in said station, to a second locking position, wherein the scooter is locked in said station, wherein a portion of said mechanical bar is able to position itself, in said second locking position, between said rear wheel of the scooter, or a protection support arranged around it, and a relief protuberance placed near said rear wheel on said scooter platform.

In this way, the method allows to safely lock the scooter in the locking position in a simple and effective way.

According to a preferred embodiment, one end of said mechanical bar, in said second locking position, is adapted to fit into a groove formed between two arms which form a portion of the upper part of a support plate. According to a preferred embodiment, the method further comprises the further step (vii) of activating a second detector adapted to detect the correct positioning of said mechanical bar in said support plate, in the second locking position.

In this way, by pressing the mechanical bar when it reaches the end of its stroke in contact with said support plate, the second detector, for example a second micro switch, is able to send a corresponding signal to a management software of the server to allow the completion of the scooter locking operation.

According to a preferred embodiment, the method further comprises the further step (viii) of turning on a second warning light positioned above the locking station when said second detector detects the correct positioning at the end of the stroke of said mechanical bar in contact with said support plate in said second locking position.

In this way the user is advised of the correct positioning of the mechanical bar in contact with the support plate.

According to a preferred embodiment, the method further comprises the further step (ix) of activating a third detector, such as a third micro-switch, activated by the mechanical bar itself when it has finished its stroke, which is able to communicate to a central unit that the scooter locking system was successful.

In this way, the termination of the scooter rental service that has just been blocked can be concluded.

According to a preferred embodiment, the method further comprises the further step (x) of activating the unlocking procedure of the scooter when it is locked in said locking position.

According to a preferred embodiment, said further step (x) of unlocking the scooter comprises a first step (x.l) of verifying, through an application manageable with an internet connection, that the user who intends to unlock the scooter is in possession of the suitable recognition codes, and a second phase (x.2) for sending a signal to said electric actuator which allows the lifting up of said mechanical bar. According to a preferred embodiment, said first phase (x.l) of verifying the user's credentials is performed through an application downloadable from the network, which sends a signal to the Raspberry management software which, through a specially designed and built intelligent control unit, sends an inverse signal to said electric actuator which allows the lifting up of said mechanical bar to unlock the scooter.

According to a preferred embodiment, the method further comprises the further step (xi), wherein, when said mechanical bar has finished its upward stroke, said third micro-switch is activated which in turn activates through a server the start of the scooter rental service. According to a preferred embodiment, the method further comprises the further step (xii) wherein the user is notified of the activation of the scooter rental service by turning on said third warning light positioned above the locking position.

Further features and advantages of the present invention will be better highlighted by examining the following detailed description of a preferred but not exclusive embodiment, illustrated by way of non-limiting example with the support of the attached figures, wherein:

- Figure 1 is a front view of an embodiment of the station for locking a scooter of the present invention;

- Figure 2 is a rear view of the station of Figure 1 ;

- Figure 3 is a view showing the scooter entering the station of Figures 1 and 2; - Figure 4 is a view of the rear wheel of the scooter in the settling phase in the position of Figures 1 and 2;

- Figure 5 is a view of the station of Figures 1 and 2 showing the mechanical bar in the lowered position to lock the scooter; - Figure 6 is a view showing the scooter in the exit phase from the position of

Figures 1 and 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION.

The following detailed description refers to a particular embodiment of the station for locking a scooter of the present invention, without limiting its content. With reference to Figures 1-6, a station 1 is shown in the various locking phases of a scooter 2 equipped with a handlebar 18, a front wheel 3, a rear wheel 4, a platform 5 placed between the two wheels 3,4, and a relief protuberance 11 present on the platform 5 located near the rear wheel 4.

The station 1 comprises a rail 6 wherein the rear wheel 4 of the scooter 2 is inserted until the latter comes into contact with a mechanical stop 7 located at the end of the rail 6 opposite the entry side for the scooter 2; a first detector 16, for example a first micro-switch 16, detects the correct positioning of the scooter 2 in contact with the mechanical stop 7. A first indicator light (not shown in the figures) advice the user about the correct positioning of the scooter 2 detected by the first micro- switch 16.

The station 1 further comprises a scooter locking/unlocking device comprising: an electric actuator 19 which receives the signal emitted by the first detector 16 which confirms the correct positioning of the scooter against the mechanical stop 7; a piston 8 operated by the electric actuator 19; a mechanical bar 9 fixed to one end of the piston 8; a vertically arranged support plate 10 and provided in its upper part with an element consisting in two arms 12 and a groove 13. The mechanical bar 9 is able to pass from a first unlock position, wherein the scooter 2 is not locked in the station 1, to a second locking position, wherein the scooter 2 is locked in the station 1, and vice versa. In this second locking position, the central part of the mechanical bar 9 is positioned between the rear wheel 4 (or a protective support 15 thereof arranged around it) and a relief protuberance 11 present on the platform 5 near the rear wheel 4 itself, while an end 14 of the mechanical bar 9 fits into the groove 13 between the two arms 12 of the support plate 10.

A second detector 17, for example a second micro- switch 17, detects the correct positioning of the mechanical bar 9 in the locked position of the scooter 2. A second indicator light (not shown in the figures) advices the user about the correct positioning of the mechanical bar 9 detected by the second detector 17.

The station 1 also comprises a protective cap (not shown in the figures) arranged around the locking/unlocking device to protect it from bad weather and atmospheric agents. A photovoltaic panel (not shown in the figures) can be positioned on the protective cap for autonomously charging the scooter 2, in the absence of electricity.

Station 1 can also include an induction plate and a coil positioned inside the scooter (not shown in the figures), connected to the positive and negative terminals of its battery, capable of transmitting electrical energy to recharge the scooter 2.

The station 1 can also comprise an identification device associated to each scooter 2 (not shown in the figures).

Operationally, the rear wheel 4 of the scooter 2 is inserted into the rail 6 (Figure 3) until it comes into contact with the mechanical stop 7 positioned at the end of the rail 6 opposite the entry side for the scooter 2 (Figure 2). At this point the first micro-switch 16 detects the correct positioning of the scooter in contact with the mechanical stop 7 and sends the relative correct positioning signal to the electric actuator 19. At the same time, a corresponding first indicator light comes on, for example orange colored, to inform the user accordingly.

Following receipt of the signal indicating the correct positioning of the scooter 2 in the station 1, the electric actuator 19 activates the mechanical piston 8 provided at one end of a mechanical bar 9. The bar 9 thus passes from a first unlocked position, wherein the scooter 2 is not locked in the station 1, to a second locking position, wherein the scooter 2 is locked. In this locking position, a central portion of the mechanical bar 9 is positioned between the rear wheel 4, or a protective support 15 thereof arranged around it, and the relief protuberance 11 placed on the platform 5 of the scooter 2 near the rear wheel 4 itself. The mechanical bar 9 is thus wedged between the rear wheel 4 and the relief protuberance 11. At the same time, the end 14 of the mechanical bar 9 fits into the groove 13 between the two arms 12 of the support plate 10.

At this point, the second micro-switch 17 detects the correct positioning of the mechanical bar 9 in the locking position of the scooter 2 in the groove 13 and sends a related signal to the management software, for example of the Raspberry type, which communicates to a server that the scooter 2 has been successfully locked. A second indicator light, for example red colored, advices the user about the correct positioning of the mechanical bar 9 detected by the second micro switch 17.

In the event that the use of the scooter is managed by a scooter rental procedure, after the scooter 2 has been correctly locked in station 1, the user is allowed to exit the rental service. Subsequently, in the event that a new use of the same scooter is requested by a user, once the user's eligibility to access the scooter rental service has been verified through an application that can be downloaded from the network, this sends a signal to the Raspberry management software which, through a specially designed and built intelligent control unit, sends a signal to the electric actuator

19, which allows the mechanical bar 9 to rise from the support plate 10 and from the platform 5 to activate the scooter 2 unlocking. When the mechanical bar 9 ends its upward stroke, it activates a third micro switch which sends a signal to the Raspberry management software, which will activate the start of the rental service. This operation is signaled to the user by means of a third indicator light, for example green colored, positioned above the locking position. At this point the scooter 2 can be extracted from the locking position 1. The locking/unlocking system is able to recognize the scooter 2 through an identification device of the RFID (radio-frequency identification) type, positioned inside the structure and connected to the Raspberry management software. This allows the calculation of the duration of the rental service even if the scooter is returned to a location other than the departure one.

Station 1 is also equipped with a GPS-type satellite position detector for its location by users who, through the application, have the possibility of being continuously updated on the availability of free parking spaces and of free bookable scooters.

Of course, many modifications and variations of the described preferred embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art, still remaining within the scope of the invention. Therefore, the present invention is not limited to the described preferred embodiments, illustrated only by way of non-limiting example, but is defined by the following claims.