BeeLine’s simple navigation device keeps cyclists headed in the right direction

Lets say you’re roaming the city on your bike. You know your final destination — but you don’t necessarily care how you get there, or if your route is the shortest possible one. You just want to ride.

That’s the idea behind BeeLine, a “fuzzy navigation” device for cyclists. You tell it where you want to go, and it constantly points you in that direction — but it doesn’t try to tell you exactly when and where to turn. The company showed off its product today in the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF 2017.

BeeLine didn’t know they’d be competing on the main stage when they came to Disrupt. They came to be a part of the Startup Alley exhibition room, where they were voted into the “wildcard” slot by attendees roaming the hall.

BeeLine latches onto your bike’s handlebars, a clever wrap design letting you put it on and take it off within a few seconds. When you’re not on your bike, you can pull off the BeeLine and attach it to your keyring to keep it out of the reach of would-be thieves. The built-in battery should last about 30 hours of use. It’s got an ePaper display, and a built-in accelerometer, digital compass, and gyroscope.

BeeLine costs $129, and works with both iOS and Android. You use the smartphone companion app to set your destination — or, if you’re making multiple stops (or want to take a specific path), your route.

BeeLine started its life on Kickstarter, with the London-based team raising £150,185 (roughly $200,000) after setting out to raise £60,000. It officially hit the shelves in February of this year, and they’ve sold about 8,000 units to date.

So what sparked this idea? BeeLine co-founders Tom Putnam and Mark Jenner were meeting at a coffee shop to discuss potential ideas… but Mark got lost on his bike along the way.

Battlefield Judge Q&A

How much does it cost to make?

About £35.

Whats your advantage over an iPhone app that does something like this?

This way you don’t have to strap an expensive phone to your handlebars. We’re also able to make it weather resistant.

What’s the battery life?

About 30 hours when it’s being used.