Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems on the Advance
When a concept, like Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), is still relatively new, it means that developments are more clearly noticeable. Even in a few months it is possible to trace the concept’s development.
There are two versions of this technology; direct and indirect measuring systems. As you would expect, both have advantages and disadvantages. Direct systems are substantially more expensive but more precise than indirect systems. Indirect systems are cheaper, but less accurate. These systems were originally based on the ABS infrastructure, but are now also based on ESP. Indirect systems cross-link with the vehicle’s electronics so they cannot be installed after manufacture. Conversely, direct systems are components of the wheel and therefore can be re-tooled relatively straightforwardly in the aftermarket.
It is not yet clear which system will be accepted as the standard, something that is largely to do with American legislation. The American road safety authority, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will have to decide which criteria will govern the regulation of these devices before they can become components in newly certified vehicles in the USA.
In the past decisions had to be taken back because interest groups opposed them. Sometimes representatives of the other competing technology protested, sometimes consumer federations did, and on other occasions the automakers makers used their influence. Again and again new arguments arose, most of which contained at least a few good ideas. The consumer federations, for example, argued that drivers have a right to the best technical solution, which supports direct measurement. The manufacturers, on the other hand, referred to the fact that, in the US, ABS is still far from penetrating the market as well as the technology has in Europe (100 per cent of new vehicles produced in Europe are now fitted with ABS). If one side decides to support indirect measuring systems, ABS has to be introduced at the same time, which gives significantly more leverage to the safety argument. In short the decision remains up in the air.