The rapid pace of technological progress in the automotive industry during the past decade means that advanced tires will be the new normal by the end of the decade. The technology for electrified vehicles self-driving vehicles will no longer be a rare sight on the roads in the future and this means that the tire industry will have to keep pace with these advances. Manufacturers and researchers across the globe have come to realize that this is one area that they have overlooked. They are now working on the development of advanced tires incorporating sensors and other technological features which can be used in self-driving cars, manually driven vehicles, or space exploration vehicles. Many tire manufacturers have devised and implemented smart tire management programs at the pilot level and several successful programs have been implemented in the real time. Advanced tires have been developed to improve mileage and tire lifespan.
Bridgestone is one of the leading tire manufacturers that has been in the news for its research activities and innovative concept tires. The company, which has been a leading tire manufacturer for the past nine decades, displayed its innovation regarding tires at the 2020 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Two products it showcased at the show were smart tires which were equipped with sensors and airless tires. Goodyear’s airless tire is a single structure that effectively combines a wheel and a tire’s tread, thus eliminating the probability of a flat tire. This is a basic concept that the company has developed which can be commercialized for use in both commercial fleets and personal vehicles. Another innovative concept is that of an airless and elastic tires that can be fitted in lunar rovers, compact vehicles used for international space exploration missions. The smart tire based on the concept of ‘sense, sync, and act’ integrates sensors that can be used in combination with an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS). Based on the road conditions and the condition of the tire itself, the tires can send signals to drivers or the AI systems in self-driving cars.
According to Hans Dorfi, the Director of Digital Engineering at Bridgestone Americas, the ADAS systems that are currently do not take into account any data received from tires. The information that is obtained from tires can offer an additional layer of safety. Bridgestone has designed a new system that could be used to get information. This information derived from a sensor installed in the inner wall of the tire could be used to prevent crashes and improve safety. When the tire rotates, the sensor measures the deformation of the adhesive as some parts of the tire comes into contact with the ground. This measurement gives an idea of the strain on the tire which are then turned into wear estimates. The tires which have sensors can detect potholes and the data can be sent to the local transportation department for quicker repairs to roads thus making them safer for road users. Thus, tire technology is advancing at a pace that is just as rapid as the speed at which the automotive industry is evolving. According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global market for advanced tires is expected to reach USD 1.34 billion by 2030.
Many companies have launched innovative programs to extend tire life and thus enhance the overall vehicle mileage. One such system is SAF-Holland’s SMAR-te Tire Pilot, an intelligent tire management system that can be run in integration with SAF integrated suspension systems. The electro-pneumatic controls from AKTV8 LLC are combined with SAF Tire Pilot Plus TPMS. The system alters tire pressure based on axle load, with optimal pressure being maintained based on the tire manufacturer’s recommendations for reliability and tire life.
Bill Hicks, SAF product manager for SAF-Holland, said that the axle loading feature sends electronic alerts to restrict overload citations. The electro-pneumatic controls are meant to enhance the tire life as well as the fuel mileage. According to the company, SMAR-te Tire Pilot does not require maintenance or calibration. The ability to maintain the tire pressure based on manufacturer’s loading and inflation standards reduces the stress on the tire, which results in better tire tread and reduction in rolling resistance. This is the next step in revolutionizing tire pressure management portfolio.
Leading companies across the world have joined forces to combine their expertise and thus improve the overall efficiency of their operations. For example, Norfolk Southern Railway Company teamed up with Goodyear for implementation of its TPMS Plus (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) technology. Norfolk plans to implement this technology soon in its trailer fleet operation across the North American region. TMPS Plus is a technology that has been designed to make it possible for fleets to save money and time by sending alerts warning about potential tire situations. As part of the collaboration, Goodyear would install on-vehicle sensors for monitoring tire conditions in the real time. This would offer information regarding low pressure, air leaks, and abnormal temperature.
Goodyear Fleet HQ will help drivers facing any potential issues by informing and directing them to the nearest Goodyear service location or roadside assistance. Goodyear has already started implementing the solution at the Norfolk Southern Fairburn, Ga and will shortly begin installation of the solution at other facilities in Illinois, Indiana and Florida. It is expected that this technology solution will help drivers to maintain and protect their tires more efficiently, thus preventing tire-related breakdowns thus reducing downtime.
This article is based on a feature written by Pratik Kirve, Sr. Specialist – Content Writer at Allied Analytics LLP.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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