- Dec 11th 2006 at 1:33PM
Smart tires get smarter: Pirelli to chip tires for better performance
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]