ITS an Intelligent Tyre System
Continental AG has unveiled a new prototype cyber tyre technology, designed to demystify the tyre management process. The battery-less Intelligent Tyre System (ITS) fuses a range of existing TPMS functions with an RFID-like wireless communication facility that will enable the sensors in each tyre to communicate with a central processor inside the vehicle. The system’s tyre ID technology, coupled with a tyre age function is designed to advise motorists of their tyre’s suitability.
According to Continental representatives, the sensors will be installed into truck tyres initially, with the first Continental-produced cyber tyres rolling off the production line around 2010. Continental was exhibiting this and related technologies as part of a ContiSafetyExperience event, which the company held at the OAMTC (Austrian AA equivalent) centre in Teesdorf, Austria. ITS had its first outing as part of the Continental Truck Tyre Roadshow exhibit that visited the CV Show earlier this year.
Designed for both OE and the aftermarket, the ITS sensor is attached in a post cure process that could be undertaken by anyone with the skills needed to repair a tyre. The communication side of the technology comes by virtue of the use of a wireless system that Continental experts described as “RFID in functionality, but not in frequency.” Traditionally RFID had been a high frequency technology, which implies that the Conti system communicates using low frequencies.
In terms of cost, the new system is said to be completely comparable with rim-mounted direct pressure sensors, but has the advantage of offering more data opportunities.
In addition to the normal tyre pressure, temperature and load monitoring facilities. The prototype system Tyres & Accessories tested allows the identification of the tyre being driven. This could potentially allow the system to advise drivers of a mismatch of tyre fitments on one axle, or that winter tyres are recommended in a certain area at a certain time of year. The identification function even goes as far as highlighting the tyre’s speed rating, again enabling the system to advise the motorist if he exceeds the recommended speed limit.
Interestingly the tyre identification function also translates the tyre’s DOT code into a normal language, giving the tyre a “born on” date, potentially making the subject of tyre aging a lot more understandable to the consumer.
Delving a little deeper into the electronics side, a further extension of this principle involves networking the various electronically controlled parts of the car. There is a whole host of possibilities as to what this technology can do. A simple example is a lane departure alert. Extend the system further and allow separate cars to communicate with each other (and road infrastructure around them) and the system could warn of a broken down car around the next bend of a particularly slippery surface.
Linking up driver assistance systems not only enhances traffic safety, it also serves to make mobility more eco-friendly. Continental’s Traffic Light Assistant, for example, calculates the ideal speed to coast in traffic in order to catch green lights all the way. Hybrid technology, which likewise enjoys a high priority at Continental, includes energy recovery and automated start/stop operations, as well as engineering and manufacturing expertise in lithium-ion batteries. The company is about to start supplying these batteries especially for ‘bluetec’ models made by various auto manufacturers.