Future tyre pressure sensors will be able to detect when a tyre
change is necessary due to insufficient tread depth. This new development has come from leading
automotive company Continental.
The new feature is tentatively slated to be available as of 2017 in
new vehicle models equipped with direct tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS)
from Continental (electronic Tire Information System, eTIS).
Explaining the importance of
regular tread depth monitoring, Andreas Wolf, head of the Body & Security
business unit, Continental points out, “It’s not for nothing that legislators
all over the world have defined a minimum tyre tread depth for safe driving. We
are delighted that we will, in future, be able to conveniently read tread depth
electronically with the aid of sensors embedded in the tyres.”
Intelligent software makes
the new feature possible. According to a company statement, the software
deduces tread depth from gradual changes in tyre rolling characteristics. The
in-tyre pressure sensor infers running characteristics from the variations in
tyre deformation. The secret behind tread depth detection
For this completely new type of electronic tread depth detection,
Continental engineers draw on a tire's gradually changing rolling
characteristics over a longer period of time. Tire and electronics developers
conducted an intensive series of tests that allowed the basic data to be fed
into the electronics of future vehicles. The specifics of the tires' altered
rolling characteristics are compared with the accumulated empirical data. If
the tread is run down to below a tire-specific threshold value, the on-board
electrical system signals that a tire change is due.If so desired, the
vehicle's telematics module is even capable of informing the local auto service
center. It goes without saying that people will still be able to check for
themselves when the recommended or legally required minimum tread depth has
been reached. For this purpose, the tire has wet-TWI (tread wear indicators).
These are small ridges between the tread grooves that indicate that the brand
manufacturers recommended minimum allowable tread depth (3 millimeters in
summer tires, 4 mm for winter tires) have been attained.
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