Nokian Tyres plc says “smart" tires that can relay data to drivers will be common on electric vehicles within the next five years.
“Sensors connected to tires will be one of the things that play an important role when machines observe driving conditions instead of humans,” say Nokian officials. “The automatization of traffic is advancing, which also sets new requirements for car tires. When a car is not human-controlled, it must be able to individually observe driving conditions via sensors installed on tires, for example.
“The old and familiar safety characteristics, such as grip on ice and aquaplaning resistance, will be joined by technology that produces real-time data.”
In a recently released statement from Nokian, Mika Penttila, the company’s head of digital technology, said that “if a car does not have an active driver to ensure that tires are safe to use, safety needs to be measured in another way. When the information that is received from tires is combined with weather data, for example, the vehicle’s on-board information system can form a picture of the prevailing driving conditions and adjust the driving accordingly.
“Tire sensors can also monitor tire wear, inflation pressure, and the temperature inside the tire. An increase in the inside temperature may be an early indication of tire damage, for example, allowing it to be addressed before it causes a dangerous situation on the road.”
Technology may also benefit consumers at the point of tire purchase, says Penttila, as buying “a new tire set may become more effortless and unnoticeable than before. Future refrigerators can order new milk when you are running out and the same can happen with worn tires. As tires wear down, sensors can notify the tire shop, which can then deliver a new set to you or even fit them on your vehicle” after first alerting drivers.
“The tire can relay the wear data to the onboard information system, which notifies the driver that the tires can be safely used for another three months. At the same time, the system instructs them to contact the nearest tire retailer and provides their contact information.
“This is similar to how current cars can notify the driver that they are running out of fuel and provide navigation guidance to the nearest service station,” according to Penttila.