New Conti TPMS function enters production, more in development
Continental reports that a new feature related to its TPMS system has entered series production. The company says an Asian vehicle manufacturer now offers its customers a sub-function of Continental’s ‘Filling Assistant’ – feature that uses a motorist’s smart phone. An app on the phone omits a short ‘honking’ noise upon achieving optimal pressure during tyre inflation. The Filling Assistant function ensures that tyres always run on the correct pressure, even if they are filled using non-calibrated equipment.
The company is also developing other functions for its tyre pressure sensors, such as load detection. Continental foresees that this technology will enable drivers or fleet operators to receive information on axle loads via data gleaned automatically from their vehicle’s tyre pressure sensors.
“In the past, it was more or less up to drivers to ‘guess-timate’ to the best of their abilities whether or not the maximum permitted payload of a car had already been reached,” explains Andreas Wolf, head of the Body & Security Business Unit at Continental. “In the future, the vehicle will be able to tell the driver after just a few hundred metres whether the payload has already exceeded the maximum permitted limit, or whether the tyre pressure would simply need to be adjusted accordingly. In this way, our tyre pressure sensors will not only help to save fuel, but also offer active assistance in terms of vehicle safety.”
The technology behind load detection
In developing the automatic load detection system, engineers at Continental took advantage of the physical properties of vehicle tyres. The contact patch of the tyre increases as a result of the weight bearing down on the tyre. With the future generation of sensors, which will be fitted directly underneath the tyre’s tread, the tyre pressure monitoring system can accurately detect the size of this contact area. With every revolution of the tyre, the sensor registers the tyre’s rolling characteristics on the road. Based on the existing tyre pressure and precise data about the tyres fitted, the system is able to inform the driver after just a few hundred metres if a change in tyre pressure would be appropriate for the current payload.
Load detection will be the basis for some more vehicle improvements, shares Continental. Current assistance systems relating to vehicle dynamics are designed to provide occupants with the highest level of comfort and safety benefits independently from the load conditions. Assistance systems today are always working with the assumption of a maximum payload. As soon as systems like ESC, Emergency Steer Assist or Autonomous Emergency Braking Assistant can incorporate information about the actual vehicle weight in their responses, this will enable them to provide even more efficient comfort and support for drivers.