Pirelli & Cie SpA is making a push for a new era in tire manufacturing at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show with two innovations: colored editions of P Zero and Winter Sottozero tires, and a platform integrated into those tires that communicates with the driver via a mobile app.
The tire manufacturer says it will debut its interactive, cloud-based tire system in the aftermarket, and eventually roll it out to auto makers.
Pirelli says its engineers have developed innovative materials and protection systems to promise vivid and durable colors in the tires. It's part of the company's strategy to offer tailor-made products to its customers.
The base colors for the colored edition will be red, yellow, white, and silver, and they're on display at Pirelli's booth at the auto show, but also on some of the most eagerly-anticipated cars at the event. As well as the base colors, options are available in every other color on request.
The Pirelli colored edition was born to satisfy the increasing demand for personalization from prestige and premium clients, and the tire maker says it comes alongside other Pirelli specialty technologies, such as PNCS, its noise-canceling system, run-flat systems, and seal-inside, a technology that allows a tire to repair itself in the event of a puncture.
The stability of the sidewall colors is its own breakthrough, Pirelli says, and the company says its engineers have used the experience gained in Formula 1, where colored tires have been a reality since 2011, to refine an innovative labeling system. In particular, a new material has been created that acts as a protective barrier to maintain the brilliance of the color and avoid fading caused by time and use, without affecting performance.
The first colored edition P Zero tires already have made their debuts in the last few months as concepts with Pagani, Lamborghini and McLaren, while from the summer they will be available for brands such as Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche and Bentley. The colored edition will then be expanded to premium models from the world’s top manufacturers.
Colored edition tires are available to preorder straight away for the P Zero and Winter Sottozero ranges in the prestige sector, from 19-inch size upwards, before then being extended to premium cars.
Smart replacement tires
With Pirelli Connesso, the tire maker says a tire becomes intelligent and interactive. It's a digital platform using a sensor integrated within Pirelli’s high end tires to expand on the information already available from each car’s on-board computer.
It provides data about the status, use and maintenance of every tire, also offering localized and personalized services to provide bespoke mobility for the needs of the most demanding drivers. Pirelli’s new system has been conceived as a technical tire accessory, and is intended to provide a more informed and pleasurable driving experience, optimizing performance and reducing fuel consumption with more efficient use of tires.
It will initially be available in 19-inch size and bigger on P Zero and Winter Sottozero for prestige cars.
The first country where it will be offered will be the United States from summer 2017, where the platform has been developed in conjunction with leading companies from the digital world.
After the U.S., Pirelli Connesso will be available in principal markets within Europe and the Far East. Pirelli Connesso will be available in P Zero or Winter Sottozero tires whether they're plain black or colored.
Pirelli Connesso is formed of a sensor embedded in the tire connected to the Pirelli Cloud and to a smartphone app, providing an interface that allows drivers to constantly communicate with tires.
The sensor weighs just a few grams and has no effect on the physical performance of the tire, Pirelli says. It continuously measures the status of each tire and sends the data to a centralized control unit and the Pirelli Cloud, which together form the real brain of the Connesso system. Here the information is processed and then conveyed to the end-user app.
The launch version of the Pirelli Connesso system recognizes each tire’s identification code, monitoring its status from manufacture in the factory to recycling at the end of life. It measures tire pressure and temperature even when the car is at rest, plus static vertical load, tire wear, number of kilometers covered for each tire, and, in a future version, the estimated remaining life in kilometers, as well as acting as a remote pressure gauge when tires are being inflated, providing a true and accurate reading without having to wait for the tires to cool down.
Furthermore, Pirelli Connesso alerts the driver when the pressure of one or more tires drops too low, or when the wear limit is approaching. In both cases, the app identifies the closest tire dealership and can directly book an appointment to rectify the pressures, or pre-order and change worn tires, cutting down on waiting time.
How Connesso compares to TPMS
In particular, compared to other on-board tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) currently used, Pirelli Connesso works both when the car is at rest as well as when it is moving. In a future version, Connesso also will be able detect a drop in pressure remotely and immediately make arrangements for any new tires or maintenance needed, directly in the place where the car is parked. This type of functionality, which allows predictive tire management, has been developed by Pirelli’s engineers not only to satisfy the requirements of individual users, but also those of fleets and car sharing services.
Pirelli says its Connesso app is the first mobile platform of its kind to connect tire makers, consumers and the sales network. It also will offer exclusive services such as indicating which motorsport events are taking place nearby, as well as giving the possibility to write reviews of tire dealerships, in order to share opinions of service received and read the views of other users in the Pirelli Connesso community.
Pirelli’s new system is currently focused on the aftermarket, but there will also be an original equipment solution.
In collaboration with some car manufacturers, Pirelli is developing a brand new technical architecture for tires. As well as enabling all the basic functions, this will add the possibility of automatically controlling the vehicle’s set-up. By reading each tire’s identification code, the sensor will recognize its characteristics and send that information to the car’s on-board computer, in order to select the car set-up offering the most performance and safety.
These concepts form part of the wider Cyber Technologies project, which Pirelli launched in 2005 with the aim of achieving maximum integration between driver, car, and tires.