Q&A with Johan Van Langendonck, Bridgestone

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Johan Van Langendonck, head of consumer solutions at Bridgestone EMEA, reveals how the company plans to develop its indirect predictive tire and vehicle maintenance solution, My Speedy, which uses an embedded telematics dongle to monitor, in real time, a vehicle’s key components

Why did Bridgestone choose an indirect monitoring method?
A sensor adds complexity to the overall solution but also increases the cost for the end user. There is a lot of data already available in the car, so we thought why not reuse that, and we believe the accuracy of the readings is at a level that does add value for the end user. In the future, for autonomous cars, we recognize that we will need a higher accuracy system and we may need a re-designed solution with dedicated hardware in the tire or the valve to complement this telematics dongle.

When will you look to begin developing a direct solution and what will be the key design considerations?
We are already working on developing a tire-mounted sensor in-house. We may also look to work with other hardware and software manufacturers to create a solution that is not only affordable but also scalable and durable. We need to ensure that the system can last the lifetime of the tire, whether it is a battery-powered sensor or an energy harvester.

We know the sensors are very delicate and there is a high risk of breaking them during mounting and unmounting. We’re looking at both types and have built a proof of concept for both, but we haven’t yet decided our final direction.

Will the sensor be fitted during production?
That would be the ideal scenario but we want to ensure that the tire and the sensor can also be separate, so we could offer it as an option to the customer. That may or may not be a Bridgestone sensor. Discussions are ongoing, we’re keeping our options open and exploring many scenarios. Eventually we see the MySpeedy solution existing alongside a tire-mounted solution – our philosophy is that it has to be fit for the purpose.

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the ground-breaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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