• Jul 14, 2008
Sure, they'll say it's for safety, driving on excessively worn tires is dangerous, but something more sinister is afoot. German firm ProContour has developed a tire tread depth measuring system that beams a laser at the wheels of passing vehicles and takes 430 million measurements per second to develop a three-dimensional profile of that tire. Tread depth and pattern are then calculated, and if there's less than .06 inches of tread or the pattern is clearly inappropriate (studded snows in the summer, for example), a citation is automagically issued. While we're admittedly being cynical, the safety aspect of what ProContour has developed is pretty impressive. The ability to scan the tires of vehicles as they pass at speeds in excess of 50 km/h takes some doing, and we've seen horrid things posing as tires, so kudos, but a fine strikes us as a bit hardcore. Of course, financial pain might have a Pavlovian effect and cause those bitten by the Tire Ticket Fairy to keep a closer eye on their tires. It'd be a joke to assume that everyone already inspects their tires for condition and inflation on a regular basis, but that's how it should be, but then, there'd be no business model for ProContour. None of ProContour's big-brother rigs have been installed yet, but the company is shopping it around to local governments eager for yet another way to stick it to the citizens. The safety idea is laudable, but we're skeptical how a challenge to the seemingly infallible computer might go, should the system go all HAL9000 on us. Thanks for the tip, Rod! Video after the jump (in German).

[Source: thenewspaper.com]




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have lived in Pennsylvania. Maryland, and Ohio. In Pennsylvania there are annual inspections that include tires and brakes. In Ohio and Maryland people neglect these items and roll around on junk. If you walk around a parking lot you will see that people don't replace their tires until they don't hold air anymore.

      That is a massive exageration but I am all for annual inspections because I don't want to be rearended because someone with no brakes and bald tires. These types of accidents are too preventable.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So because some other person is driving around on slicks with pieces of belt showing, I should have to waste my afternoon and $50 on an inspection?

        That's liberals for you, one person craps so we should all wear diapers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "How about issuing fines and jailtime for people who cause collisions due to neglect of equipment while leaving people who not cause collisions alone?"

        You see, if he causes a collision with you, who obviously is aware of safety concerns with the tires, and kills you in the accident, would you not rather have him checked his tires and replaced so the accident could have been prevented?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Again, my tires are not the problem. Negligence commited by someone else is not justification to make me jump through stupid hoops.

        How about issuing fines and jailtime for people who cause collisions due to neglect of equipment while leaving people who not cause collisions alone?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dan, you are driving on the same road as that guy with the cords showing - the inspection keeps everyone safe. You likely can't tell that his/her tires are a time bomb when they are driving next to you on the interstate...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Maybe the idea is laudable. In the same time I'm not skeptical how such a challenge might go.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just raise the requirements for having a drivers license to what they require at Bob Bondarant and end this silliness. 75% on the road don't have the skills to operate a vehicle. Eliminate them and problem is solved.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And nobody showing up at work to keep the economy afloat either.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, if all those 75% go off the road, there will be no retarded accidents, old people doing 30 on highways and generally going VERY slowly, people talking, eating or doing anything but paying attention etc. Plus, there will be no congestion, and far less pollution.

        I think Todd just proposed a solution to most of the world's problems :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah thats great! Fine me a lot of money because I couldn't afford new tires... That'll make me be able to afford them even faster!

      I can't wait for some advocacy group to step in and suddenly new tires are added to government hand-outs to individuals of specific earning brackets...

      I can see it now... My tax dollars will install things that will tax me when my tires are worn, but because I make too much taxable income, I have to shell out my own money for new tires, while my taxed money pays for someone else's tires...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd like to see the fine for truckers at least.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here's an idea: Just fine people who get into accidents that have bad brakes or bald tires. Problem solved. No need for expensive gizmos. Don't want a fine? Either replace your tires or avoid accidents.

      I hate all this gestapo crap in the name of safety. If safety was a real concern to police officers, they'd ignore people paying attention and driving over the speed limit, and start ticketing the absent minded morons who don't use signals, never check blindspots, and yap on cell phones.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And I would like the engineers who stay up late thinking up this kind of ridiculous crap to be the first to be fined.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Don't blame the engineers. They surely just designed this to make keeping tabs on tire wear much easier. I would bet they were genuinely concerned with road safety.

        It's the marketing people and government that buys the system that will put it to use to issue fines.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If it's a small enough fine to bite you but not kill you ($20), you'll replace your tires soon enough if you have to keep driving over the sensors. I like it a lot. They need to invent one of these that can measure brake pad thickness as well. Maybe driver intelligence too? That'd sure stop a ton of accidents.
      • 6 Years Ago
      c'mon, guys. we've got to see this stuff for what it is...revenue enhancement. there has to come a time when we realize our rights are being eaten away every time a new bit of technology comes around to "save" us from ourselves. please wake up and see that. i'm far from a consipiracy theorist, but this stuff is so blantantly big brother we should all be worried.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i wonder how it would handle a spare tire like a compact spare/doughnut?
      • 6 Years Ago
      OK,
      Its totally for revenue. If you get a $20 fine in the mail and your tires aren't bad. Your telling me your going to court to fight it? or driving all the way into the city to show an officer your tires aren't bald?

      With Gas approaching $5 a gallon. And taking and hour or two out of the day to defend yourself, everyone will be forced to pay the fine.

      Annual inspections are the way to go....
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