Smart Intelligent Tires Make Sense

The Strategy Analytics report, “TPMS: Technical Challenges to Smart Tire Concepts, But Possible Market Potential for Fleets”, looks at recent developments in Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems and how they are evolving into “Smart Tire” concepts. These add new sensing attributes, such as tread depth, size of the contact patch (tire area in contact with the road surface), road surface conditions, vertical load and tire identification.

Near term developments will use accelerometers to infer the new sensing attributes listed above. Later, the smart tires could appear to offer additional and more accurate sensing concepts, such as the Tyrata IntelliTread and the temperature sensor from ContiSense to detect tire “health.” Such concepts offer enhanced safety over current TPMS, such as predicting an impending blowout, alerting the driver of a slow puncture, of slippery road surfaces or of a recalled tire. Additional services can result from smart tires in which tire manufacturers can leverage their products to generate additional revenues, such as more accurate sensing and adjustment of tire pressure and temperature to aid racing drivers, by identifying the tires currently in use and so encourage consumers to use winter tires and for fleet managers to closely monitor tire usage that will enhance their tire inventories and lower operating costs.

These developments will lead to the development of more sophisticated sensor modules that will need to be fitted to the tire surface. However, this presents a significant technical challenge in designing a robust sensor module. The additional data from these new sensor modules will also pose also challenges from increased power consumption and data communication. “However,” said Kevin Mak, Principal Analyst in the Strategy Analytics Automotive Practice, “the high cost of tires in commercial fleets and new business models could provide the necessary market potential for smart tires.”

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