A quick Google search will reveal a series of news reports that talk about bike thefts, which are commonplace and occur daily across India. When Samrat Nath was in Class 8, he watched his uncle fall victim when he became among the many people whose bike was stolen.
“The incident was shocking and left a dent, because my uncle did not have much financial stability. He had purchased the bike with a loan, and buying another one would add to his burden. The theft disturbed the monthly expenses he maintained,” the 19-year-old, a resident of Karimganj in Assam, tells The Better India.
He says he could never forget about the incident. “I always wondered if a system could be devised to prevent motorcycle theft. But I was in school at the time, and did not have any means or resources to find a solution,” he notes.
After Class 12, when Samrat moved to Silchar to pursue vocational studies at ITI Assam Rifles, he was finally able to conceive ideas for the issue. “I started thinking of adding a GPS tracking system and fingerprint sensor, and creating a mobile app to lock and unlock the bike,” he says.
Samrat referred to countless YouTube videos to learn about the functioning and systems in an e-bike. “I did not have any money to buy these expensive devices. So I started learning coding from YouTube, and learned how to create an electric circuit from an e-bicycle. To fund the project, I started working at a local mobile repairing shop,” he adds.
With his savings, Samrat purchased a bicycle and spent Rs 25,000 to build a theft-proof e-bicycle.
Realising a dream
“The e-bicycle powers itself via Lithium-ion batteries recycled from used laptops, and offers a range of 60 km on a single charge, with a top speed of 40 km per hour,” he says.
Samrat developed an app that connects with the GPS installed on the bicycle to enable tracking. “It also allows you to lock and unlock the bicycle via the internet. If any person tries to fiddle with the e-bicycle, it triggers a burglar alarm and sends a notification on the app,” he explains.
Moreover, Samrat says the fingerprint sensor allows only the registered user to operate the bike. “The fingerprint sensor allows access to switch on electronic locks and other components of the bike,” he adds.
For the worst-case scenario, if the e-bicycle is in remote parts, it can still be traced until a certain distance. “GPS tracking requires the internet to trace the bicycle. But if the internet connection is weak or absent, an alternate module has been fitted on the GPS circuit. The Long Range (LoRa) radio communication allows accessing position of the vehicle up to 15 km range,” he adds.
Samrat says such features are available on e-bikes in the market, and cost lakhs of rupees. “No e-bicycle has them yet, which makes this idea unique,” he says.
He says building a theft-proof e-bicycle came with many challenges. “I wanted to build a motorcycle, but due to a lack of funds, I had to use an e-bicycle. Moreover, while I managed to learn the basics of coding, I found myself struggling during advanced stages to build a GPS that pointed to precise locations on the map. Funds remain a challenging aspect as I need Rs 60,000 to patent my product,” he says.
Samrat plans to register his product and establish a company named Sam Electron. “I want to sell my product on a commercial scale. At present, I am exploring partners and mentors who can support me with my dream,” he says.
To support Samrat for his cause, call him at +91 6000180664.
Edited by Divya Sethu