Piaggio has filed a rather complex US patent application for a system that would assist motorcycle sharing operators. The patent aims to ensure that a rented motorcycle and associated riding equipment are returned appropriately.
Bicycle sharing has become well known in the US as well as the rest of the world. But actual motorcycle sharing has not yet fully developed. Piaggio’s patent application claims to address some of the issues associated with this.
The patent shows a 3 wheeled scooter as the baseline application. This bike has a lockable storage container. This container is used to store a helmet(s) or other items rented to the rider.
(Note: Piaggio’s patent application also claims that the system may be used on two-wheeled motorcycles as well. An external top box would be mounted to the motorcycle and be used as stated above.)
The storage container and motorcycle have sensors that determine whether a user is authorized to take the motorcycle. Once sensed, the motorcycle may be started and the locked storage container unlocked. The rider then has access to the storage container and its contents.
Once the rental has been completed, the sensors will determine whether the helmet(s) have been returned and locked in the storage container. The rental period is then ended and the charge for the rental calculated.
While this patent application does not mean that Piaggio is actively pursuing entering the motorcycle sharing market, it does signal some interest. But with this application, Piaggio may be evaluating the motorcycle sharing market for themselves or license the technology to manufacturers. With this type of technology, you could be renting motorcycles as easily as renting a car.