Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. has revealed its roadmap for innovation and plan to develop innovative tyre products in several stages to align with more stringent requirements with regard of safety, connected mobility and sustainability.
Sumitomo chose to unveil its plans at the Tokyo Motor Show. According to the Smart Tyre Concept roadmap, Sumitomo plans to commence mass production of a new tyre that will maintain “brand-new” performance for a longer duration in 2020. 2020 will also be the year that Sumitomo will debut a concept tire comprising new materials meant to enhance the tyre’s environmental performance throughout its entire lifecycle, right from the sourcing of raw materials and production of the tyre to shipping, usage and even recycling.
By 2023, Sumitomo plans to develop and debut a new concept tire that will have an “active tread” technology, which will allow the tyre to maintain high levels of performance even when the road conditions are bad.
Sumitomo’s wider goal is to continue its R&D efforts with the goal of developing an all-new tire that will incorporate all of its Smart Tyre Concept technologies. The tyre manufacturer is hoping tha tit will be able to come up with such a product by the second half of the next decade.
Some of the key technologies that are mentioned as part of the company’s roadmap include its “sensing core” technology that will allow tyres to behave as sensors with the installation of a proprietary algorithm in a vehicle’s brake system.
Sensing core can help difficult road conditions like slipperiness and factors that affect the performance of a tyre like air pressure, wear and load and air pressure. This data is collected and processed not just with a view to maintain better vehicle control but also for use in cloud-based big data analysis to help other motorists and for development of better tyres in the future.
Another technology that Sumitomo is working on is technology that changes the functionality of tread rubber based on changes in road conditions. This can help optimize tyre performance for the current road surface and temperature, making driving safer and more comfortable even when there are sudden changes in road conditions during automated driving.
Another area Sumitomo is focusing on is minimizing the degradation of tire performance due to wear and rubber deterioration so that the tyre remains in fairly new condition for a longer period. Sumitomo says such technology has already been used in the studless tires it launched last year.
As part of this R&D effort, Sumitomo is working on use of new materials that will allow rubber to control and recover from internal structural deformation and can compensate for functionality that has been lost due to rubber deterioration.
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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