As the Chief of Design at Vanhawks Inc. I lead our team in product direction and the design process that has helped our company achieve its goal of delivering the world’s first IoT 'smart' bicycle. In a matter of a year and a half, our team put together and shipped a complex, one of a kind product, from scratch. In the same period of time we put together the company itself, as it had barely existed before this Kickstarter project began. As one of four heads of the company, I have been closely involved in the process of building the product as well as the team, using project management tools such as Atlassian Jira, Wrike and Asana to manage my immediate team and integrate with the rest of the company.
Valour review video created independently by Ash Tailor
The Valour is the world’s first true IoT bicycle. From ground up we have designed Valour to be as smart and connected as possible, with the aim to bring the bicycle up to speed with the twenty first century. The electronics found onboard mean that Valour has integrated headlight and tail lights, GPS navigation with its integrated LEDs, as well as a rear detection system to warn you of objects in your blind spot. The on board Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennas mean that the bike can communicate wirelessly with your mobile device as well as Wi-Fi connections around the city. On top of that there is a large variety of sensors to help record your ride telemetry which will later be used to improve your ride quality.
We even provided our customers with a bike-tool which has almost all of the tools they will need to service their bike, including a security tool. This compliments our strong belief in providing an integrated experience.
Valour's Development Process
After the Kickstarter campaign which got the ball rolling on the “bike of the future”, our tiny team set out to bring the project to reality. What we started with can be seen here, in the original Kickstarter Video. It was nothing but hacked together electronics strapped to a rough prototype frame which just barely resembled a bicycle.
It took about a year and a half of reimagining the geometry, styling, material selection, ergonomic consideration, component selection, DFM, manufacturing partnerships, electronic design and development, firmware development and finally waterproofing! Our team has been through all of the highs, the lows and has bonded like no other.