Being only point a vehicle touches (or at least should touch) the ground, tyres are one of the most important parts of a vehicle. APOLLO, a project under European Commission Information Society Directorate-General’s financial support, has introduced a concept of accident-free traffic, induced by “intelligent tyres”.
The most important objectives of this futuristic technology are to increase road safety and to improve vehicle handling, therefore dumbing down the number of traffic accidents. Pushing away the age-old concept of a regular, lifeless rubber tire right into the bin, the tyre of the future will provide data and information for the vehicle’s computer and, therefore, its control systems.
However, according to Tire Technology for Commercial Vehicles International Conference, this concept has yet to face various challenges, like the lack of fuel-efficient vehicles that would cover the worldwide emission regulations and long lasting durability, problems that are yet to be tackled by modern science.
As stated on the Transport Research website, in order for the mentioned objectives to be fulfilled, three additional research and technology objectives need to be fulfilled:
- Introduction of sensors to keep track of not only the tyre condition, but also that of road and the interaction between the two.
- Coming up with wireless solutions for data transaction and power supply without usage of batteries.
- Perhaps the most difficult one, that of simply building an “intelligent” tyre, what with all the electronic components and design.
According to this link, these innovation areas are being introduced:
- Introduction into tyre-vehicle system dynamic behavior
- Development of sensor systems with multiple functions
- Development of no-battery power supply and wireless communication between the road and the vehicle
- Coming up with a mechatronic system, by implementing electronic components into the tyres
On the 10th Annual Conference on Intelligent Tyres Technology it was mentioned that these guarantee best power transmission available, in addition to vehicle stability, comfort, safety and low fuel consumption. One of the conference’s goals was introducing the intelligent tyre technology to the world, as well as giving insight into the worldwide regulations it would cover. Educating the attendees about latest developments of Tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and presenting the new Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, that promotes the use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data wirelessly and automatically identifying tags attached to objects. These RFID chips are no bigger in size than a grain of rice and have many uses beyond the world of road safety, like pet tagging and animal identification.
However, this technology still has a couple of problems to tackle, like need discrepancies considering various groups interested in the concept of the intelligent tyre, and defining a reference application for the intelligent tyre prototype.
Based on research data results, including the materials and vehicle behavior, a rough design is yet to be created. On that note, once the material requirements are met, procedures and methods for making a mechatronic tyre will be studied.
Tyre Right offers a good choice of tyres to keep you and your passengers safe, while the intelligent tyre technology is still in development. They have in offer those for almost every vehicle type, commercial or otherwise.
In the end, a prototype will be made, with all the materials and electronics, like sensors, wireless interface and batteryless power supply. After this, the prototype is to be tested in controlled conditions, before leaving the lab for further road-readiness tests. It is not a question of ‘if’, but that of ‘when’ the conditions will be met for achieving the goal of the intelligent tyre, considering the fast pace the technology is advancing at these days.
Researchers are certain that there will come a day (sooner, rather than later) when the concept of this type of tyre will not only be a commodity, but a necessity in this world of growing number of vehicles. The technology is here – it just needs optimization, research and testing, like anything innovative does.
APOLLO’s intelligent tyre prototype has taken us a step further towards insuring a 100% road safety, and it should be pointed out that various systems, in addition to this type of tyres are being developed for your convenience. With the number of vehicles rapidly growing, it can only be seen as a tremendous success of science that the number of worldwide accidents, annually, seems to be dropping.