Pirelli, the Italian tyre maker, is on the verge of releasing its latest innovation: the intelligent tyre, which, thanks to a microchip inserted into the carcass, can supply essential information on the state of the tyre and on road conditions to the driver and car, making the electronic control of the car more efficient. This innovation, from the technicians at Pirelli's Research and Development department, delivers increased active and passive safety when driving.
The "intelligent tyre" will be delivered to market in two stages: the Cyber Tyre Lean and the Cyber Tyre. Expected to be available in early 2010, the Cyber Lean can register data such as tyre pressure and temperature, as well as the average load of the vehicle, which are essential for safe driving. The Cyber Lean is glued directly onto the inner liner of the tyre and can "read" the data relative to the tyre and send it to the car's on-board computer. Since the device can also detect tyre anomalies, the driver can adopt a correct and safe driving style, and by means of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, it can also store other data such as the type of tyre, the production date and the production site.
The Cyber Tyre "Lean" is self-powered, taking the necessary energy directly from the mechanical vibrations transmitted to the device from the tyre as it turns, so that it also has a zero maintenance cost and low environmental impact as batteries are not required.
The Cyber Lean is only the first step in a process which will lead to a tyre that is an actual sensor in itself. The evolution of the Cyber Lean will be the Cyber Tyre: an "intelligent tyre" which will use an even more sophisticated and even smaller electronic devices to communicate in real time with the electronic devices of the car, supplying even more detailed and precise information on the state of the tyres. The electronic sensor will be directly inserted into the structure of the tyre, becoming an integral part of its construction.
Thanks to the insertion of a triaxial accelerometer (which can measure acceleration on the 3 Cartesian axes - length, width, and height) and by means of complex algorithms, the Cyber Tyre will also give data on the actual and potential friction coefficients, the force of the contact between tyre and road, and on the load, instantaneously.
The real innovation is that this sensor, unlike the devices on cars today which intervene only after a driving mistake has already been made, will be able to correct wrong behaviour in advance.
Source top image: Cnet.com
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