Are any radio frequency transponders specifically designed for tracking bikes? And how safe would they be from thieves?
There are no radio frequency transponders that I am aware of that are designed specifically for tracking bicycles. There are many on-metal RFID tags that would work on bicycles, but the right tag would depend on the amount of read range required for your particular application, and on how permanently you want the tags to be affixed to the bicycles.
In 2014, bpost introduced the CycloSafe program to track bicycles in several Belgian cities. It used two Confidex RFID on-metal tags embedded in a plastic housing that locks onto a bike’s frame. Both tags are encoded with the same unique identification number, which is also printed on the device’s exterior (see Belgian Postal Workers Deliver Info About Missing Bikes).
Montreal-based bike-sharing solutions company PBSC Urban Solutions supplies bicycles for the Bike Share Toronto network, the BIXI-Montreal network and approximately 20 cities worldwide. PBSC provides and operates the bicycle-sharing program for its clients, using passive high-frequency (HF) RFID tags supplied by Syrma Technology and PBSC’s own readers, made by a third-party manufacturer. Each tag is embedded in a triangular lock mount installed on the front of a bike. When the bike is parked, the HF reader in the parking station can read the tag in the lock mount to identify the individual bike (see Toronto Expands RFID-Enabled Bike-Sharing Program).
A tag placed on a bike can be found and removed by thieves, though it would be possible to embed a tag in the bicycle’s metal housing or in a plastic component. Such tags obviously would need to be specialized tags that could withstand the heat used during the manufacturing process, and that would function properly after being embedded.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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