Forssell: Indirect TPMS will launch later this year

May 1, 2008

NIRA Dynamics AB will launch its indirect tire pressure monitoring system in the United States later this year.

CEO and President Urban Forssell talked about the system, which will be standard on the 2009 Audi A6, at the Intelligent Tire Technology Conference in Dearborn, Mich., on Tuesday, April 29.

In his presentation, "Recognizing Developments in Advanced Indirect TPMS," he said the software-based system is designed to pass Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 138, making it the first indirect system to do so. "This is no longer R&D."

There are no pressure sensors mounted inside the tires. "In this case, the tires are the sensors."

Initial calibration is required. After that, however, the system is self-learning.

In developing the indirect system, NIRA followed a "test first" approach by designing the tests before the software itself. The system was tested:

* under circumstances which make "nuisance warnings" more likely, and deflation detections more difficult.

* in normal/intermediate conditions "to gain an initial parameter tuning base."

* in everyday use "under controlled conditions."

* under extreme external influences.

The NIRA TPMS was tested using different engine and powertrain configurations and tires (including mini-spares) under varying load conditions and driving scenarios.

Forssell said the system is designed to work on mainstream vehicles, regardless of the tire type or size because of its reset and re-learn capabilities.

When asked if the system would accomodate plus-sizing and vehicle customization, Forrsell said yes, in 99.9% of the cases. The system also works with summer, winter, all-season, low-profile and run-flat tires.

He said direct tire pressure monitoring systems are better able to handle more "extreme" vehicles like sports cars (he mentioned the Porsche 911 as an example), and heavy-duty pickups and SUVs "because of (their) huge load changes."

The Audi A6 will be the first vehicle introduced. However, NIRA also is developing its system for several other vehicles for several original equipment manufacturers he declined to identify at this time. "Clearly, this is a low-cost system introduction."

In addition to Audi, NIRA is working with BMW AG, Bridgestone Corp. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe). "It's an open effort, so we invite further partners," he said.

For more information on the project, see "NIRA Dynamics and Audi are getting ready to introduce an indirect TPMS that meets U.S. government guidelines" in the February 2008 issue of Modern Tire Dealer.