Increasingly more smart technology is being put into cars. Artificial intelligence can react more quickly than people, and it is also being introduced into tires. Consumers are particularly interested in tires that can adapt to different weather conditions by utilizing sensor technology. According to a survey* commissioned by Nokian Tyres, 34% of European drivers hope that the black and round rubber parts on their cars will also automatically react to the weather in the future.
The Internet of Things is rapidly making headway into most consumer products. In practice, this means that objects are equipped with sensors that can measure, identify, and react to changes in the environment. A bed with sensors can monitor your quality of sleep, and smart clothing can cool down or warm up its users when necessary.
A smart tire could also monitor both itself and its surroundings faster and in more ways than the driver.
– Sensors in the tire could measure the tread depth and wear and alert the driver when new tires are needed or ask them to rotate them from front to back in order to even out the wear and optimize their service life, says Teemu Soini who is responsible for new technologies at Nokian Tyres.
Smart solutions on the horizon
In the first wave of smart technology, sensors installed in tires will measure different variables and forward the information to the driver, either directly into the vehicle’s onboard systems or to the driver’s mobile device. However, a true smart tire is one that can automatically react to the information from the sensor – without any driver interference.
– These tires could automatically adapt to weather and road conditions by changing the tread pattern, for example. In wet weather, the grooves storing water could increase in volume and reduce the risk of aquaplaning.
The tire industry has already taken the first steps towards smart tires, and sensors are already commonly used for measuring inflation pressure. Real smart tires are not available yet, however.
– Currently, there are very few next-generation smart applications for passenger car tires, but this will surely change within the next five years, and premium tires will provide more driver assistance solutions. Tires that react automatically are still a thing of the future, Soini estimates.
For this to become a reality, we need to solve a number of things, such as how to make the sensors durable and safe enough during the continuous stress that they are subjected to, and how to make smart technology a natural part of the massive tire production process.
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SOURCE: Nokian Tyres