Increasingly more smart technology and artifical intelligence are being introduced into tires and vehicles.
According to a survey commissioned by Nokian Tyres, 34% of European drivers hope that in future, their tires will adapt to the weather conditions.
The Internet of Things is rapidly being introduced into consumer products. Sensors in these producs can measure, identify and react to changes in the environment. A smart tire, for example, can monitor itself and its surroundings.
“Sensors in the tire could measure the tread depth and wear and alert the driver when new tires are needed or ask them to swap their front and back tires in order to even out the wear and optimize their service life,” explained Teemu Soini, new technology development at Nokian Tyres.
In the first wave of smart technology, sensors installed in tires will measure different variables and forward the information to the driver, either directly into the vehicle’s onboard systems or to the driver’s mobile device. However, a true smart tire is one that can automatically react to information from the sensor – without any driver interference.
“These tires could automatically adapt to weather and road conditions by changing the tread pattern, for example. In wet weather, the grooves storing water could increase in volume and reduce the risk of aquaplaning.”
The tire industry has already developed the first smart tires, and sensors are commonly used for measuring inflation pressure.
“Currently, there are very few next-generation smart applications for passenger car tires, but this will change within the next five years, and premium tires will provide more driver assistance solutions. Tires that react automatically are still a thing of the future,” Soini said.
For true smart tires to become a reality, several issues need to be tackled, such as how to make the sensors durable and safe, and how to integrate them in production.
Consumers also want safe tires – according to the survey, nearly every second driver would like tires that are safer than they are now.
“Developments in tire material technology enable us to build tires that work even better under the most challenging conditions. In practice, we can improve grip at the extremes without sacrificing durability. At Nokian Tyres, safety has always come first when developing new tires and it will continue to be that way,” Soini concluded.