• Dec 11, 2006


It seems like everywhere you look nowadays there's a microchip being put into objects and applications that would have seemed like science fiction a decade or two ago. Nowhere is that more noticeable than in the automotive world, with all the electronic gadgetry on today's cars and trucks. Ask old school mechanics and they'll bemoan the number of technical degrees needed to do their jobs in this modern age. And with so much riding on our tires, it was inevitable that computers would get into our tread.

Specifically we refer to Pirelli, which has apparently been working on a "CyberTyre" for some time now. The idea is that an embedded microchip can relay information to an onboard computer to analyze road data that allows the car to make changes or issue warnings to make the driving experience safer. We imagine such data coming from your rubber as road temperature that could tip off the driver to slippage in low temp or low traction situations, or perhaps your wheel will remind you that you've already gone past the mile limitation on that donut you've been using for a month.

To help move this closer to reality, Pirelli recently bought the patent for this type of tire-monitoring technology from Italian auto technology and design company Fioravanti. Along with the microchip system, Pirelli is also working on additional low-pressure monitoring systems under the X-Pressure name. It's a whole array of technologies designed to tell you that your tires are low. There's X-Pressure Optic (a visual warning on the stem and cap), X-Pressure Acoustic (warnings through your radio), and X-Pressure Acoustic Blue, which actually calls your cell phone with a warning using Bluetooth. And then there's the Safety Wheel System, which uses a compressed air canister located inside the wheel rim to add air as needed. The future is now people, and it's in your tire.

Source: Motor Authority]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Are we relying on the consumer, who cannot be bothered to top off his tires, to keep this canister full?"

      Good points. I think a compressed reservoir could maximize pressure precision and that could bump our collective world fuel mileage. Short of that byproduct, I'd prefer we keep tires and cars from getting even more complex and costly to produce and maintain. Just because we can chip tires, it doesn't mean we're not morally obligated to challenge the misuse of technology. -"Hello this is OnStar. Pull over immediately. Your passenger side rear tire is 3 lbs. lower than it should be. We've been tracking it's deviation from the norm for 47 days, but it just crossed the 3 lb. threshhold so it's our policy to call you and interrupt your day with something you clearly can't be trusted to maintain yourself. Help is on the way. Or if you prefer for an additional $12.95, we will track you to your next destination and fill it in the parking lot while you go in for your beer."
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why not just use central tire inflation? The "dreaded" Hummer has it. Why not other vehicles?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow. I call that innovative. And cool.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Microchip tires?!

      Why not microchip something more useful like the driver's seat - it would detect flatulence & reverse the cars HVAC system. Come'on people, we need real solutions to real everyday problems.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "And then there's the Safety Wheel System, which uses a compressed air canister located inside the wheel rim to add air as needed."

      While this would no doubt be effective, it seems pretty undesirable from an unsprung weight/ wheel balance standpoint. If you designed a cavity into the wheel, and made it essentially a "donut" at the center of the wheel, you'd minimize these effects, but "canister" makes me think of a small tank taped to the inside of a rim.

      Are we relying on the consumer, who cannot be bothered to top off his tires, to keep this canister full?