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Dutch University and Gazelle Develop Smart Power Steering for (Electric) Bikes

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DELFT, the Netherlands – It’s a kind of power steering for e-bikes but much smarter than the ones for cars. At least this is what the Technical University in Delft, the Netherlands and Gazelle claim. They have developed “smart steering support” for bikes. It comes as a headset integrated motor that adjusts the steering when the cyclist is in danger of falling down.

Dutch University and Gazelle Develop Smart Power Steering for (Electric) Bikes
E-bike equipped with smart power steering developed at TU Delft and Gazelle. World Cycling Forum participants have opportunity to see this system. – Photo TU Delft/Gazelle

TU Delft and Gazelle initiated the development of what they call the ‘steer-assist system’ because the number of serious accidents involving cyclists is growing in the Netherlands. These accidents causing serious injuries often occur as cyclists lose control of the bicycle. In many cases it involves elderly on e-bikes.

Steer-assist system

The steer-assist system is a world’s first enabling to keep the bike upright with the help of a motor in the headset. “With this system the bike and rider can be kept stable above a speed of 4 km/h,” says researcher Dr. Arend Schwab of TU Delft.

The now developed steer-assist prototype combines fundamental scientific knowledge from the Delft Technical University with the expertise of Gazelle; the biggest in bikes and e-bikes in the Netherlands. TU Delft is for over 15 years researching the phenomena of bicycle stability. This brought about the self-stabilising bike that TU Delft and Gazelle developed in 2016.

We received a four year grant to further develop the system

Actively support

Based on the fundamental knowledge that the study on the self-stabilizing bike yielded, the idea arose for an actively support of the rider through a steer-assist system. But lots of research is still needed before the steer assist can also be used by consumers. The prototype is now mainly used to test how users experience the steering support, and to determine which form of support works best.

Further development

Necessary follow-up research is currently in full swing. With the development of the steer-assist bicycle, TU Delft and Gazelle have already won the National Sport Innovator Prize in 2016. “That was a very important push for us,” says Schwab. “And in the meantime we have received a four-year grant from the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to further develop the system.”

Visit cycling laboratory of TU Delft

The upcoming World Cycling Forum, taking place on June 4 and 5 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, offers participants the opportunity to visit the Cycling Laboratory of Delft University of TU Delft. They will be taken on a guided tour by university experts on the morning of June 6, following the conclusion of the second day of the Forum. Here they can get acquainted (free of charge) with the science behind making bicycles and bicycle products better, faster and more advanced. The by TU Delft and Gazelle steer-assist prototype will also be part of theguided tour. On June 6 a maximum of 50 Forum participants will have the possibility to take part in this visit on a first come, first served basis.

For more information and to register please visit the 2019 World Cycling Forum website. 

(Source: Go Mobility – Rai Vereniging)

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