Dealer Tire LLC is a "leading" investor in a new tire sensor and data management company, Tyrata Inc., which recently ended its series A financing offer. Thanks to several investors, the company received an influx of $4.5 million.

Tyrata has an exclusive license with Duke University to develop sensor technology that monitors tire tread wear in real time, warning drivers and fleet management operators when tire rubber has grown dangerously thin. The funding will allow the company to develop the sensor technology into a product and prepare for large-scale manufacturing.

The Tyrata tire wear sensor can be linked to data analytics systems to improve safety in consumer vehicles, reduce maintenance costs in large fleet management operations and provide critical data for the emerging market of autonomous vehicles.

Research by Dealer Tire and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that approximately 13% to 15% of vehicles in the U.S are driving on tires that have less than 4/32nds of an inch of tread depth. Additionally, NHTSA reports that vehicles with worn tires are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than vehicles with sufficient tread depth.

In collaboration with Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering and Nicholas School of the Environment, Tyrata's founders developed the sensor technology using carbon nanotubes (tiny cylinders of carbon atoms just one-billionth of a meter in diameter) that can track millimeter-scale changes in tread depth with 99% accuracy. The sensors easily could signal when it's time to replace tires or report information about uneven and often dangerous tire wear conditions.

"We at Dealer Tire see a strong potential for this technology to improve consumer safety as it relates to tires," says Scott Mueller, partner and CEO. "The investment in Tyrata is consistent with our strategy to enhance tire safety and provide exceptional, value-added services to our stakeholders and for the benefit of the overall industry.”

"Dealer Tire is well positioned in the industry to help accomplish Tyrata’s objective of making an impact across all major tire manufacturers," says Jesko von Windheim, CEO of Tyrata. "Their investment allows Tyrata to hire a world-class management and engineering team to address a very large, unmet need for tread wear monitoring in the transportation industry."

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