There's a sensor revolution coming with 'intelligent' tyres
THEY are the most unglamorous parts of a car, but tyres are all of a sudden going to become 'intelligent'.
Within three years they will be capable of monitoring road conditions and 'talking' with a vehicle's electronic systems because of a revolution in sensor development.
Up to now, tyres have relied on their mechanical and physical properties in this regard for their contribution to driving dynamics.
But the likes of Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), which use electronic sensors within a tyre and are fairly common on executive cars, show how they are being integrated into the overall safety package of a car.
All cars will be fitted with this technology from 2012.
But experts now say such technology will change the interface between cars and the road surface.
The next step is to have a sensor on the inside of the tyre rather than on the valve or wheel rim as with current direct tyre-pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
This transmits information to receivers in the wheel housing, which pass it on to the driver via the car's engine control unit (ECU).
This means a swathe of previously unobtainable data can be relayed to the vehicle's anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic stability programme (ESP) and other electronic systems.
You should be able to be told the tyre's tread depth, pressure and temperature, the amount of load it is under, road conditions, the grip available and so on.
Forgive the pun, but there is a revolution coming to tyres all right.