WheelRight supplying drive-over technology to environmental US highway project

29th November 2016 | 0 Comments
WheelRight supplying drive-over technology to environmental US highway project
WheelRight’s partnership with the Ray is the firm’s US venture and follows a largescale trial on the M6 near Keele here in the UK

WheelRight is involved in The Ray – a unique project in the USA designed to showcase new technologies that will create a blueprint for the sustainable motorways of tomorrow.

Working with vehicle partner Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) and the charitable foundation behind the project, WheelRight is providing its drive-over tyre monitoring technology at The Ray’s Visitor Information Centre. Comprising an 18- mile stretch of highway on West Georgia’s Interstate 85, The Ray is a proving ground for new ideas and technologies that will transform the transport infrastructure of the future. The ground-braking environmental project is named after Ray C. Anderson, an American entrepreneur recognized as a leader in green business ethics.

This will be the first publicly available installation of the WheelRight drive-over tyre safety system anywhere in the US. Results of tyre pressure and tread depth measurements will be provided automatically on all tyres within seconds via a touch-sensitive kiosk that provides a printed read-out to drivers.

John Catling, CEO and a founder of WheelRight, said: “While we’ve already road tested our technology on the UK’s busy M6 motorway last year, the adoption of our tyre monitoring technology at the visitors’ centre puts us alongside driverless cars, smart solar-powered roads and bio-energy projects, all of which all prove the exciting future awaiting sustainable highways. The opportunity to demonstrate our solution to around three quarters of a million drivers and passengers every year at The Ray is a great way of spreading the word about our simple, drive-over solution that reads tyre pressures and tread depths with no need for additional sensors – such as TPMS – on the car.

“All the car needs to do is drive over our embedded strip to receive their tyre readings within seconds via a print-out at a nearby kiosk. We think this kind of cloud-based technology could revolutionise the way people look after their tyres – reducing accidents, costs and carbon emissions.”

Every year, more than 35,000 drivers die in accidents on US roads and highways. US American Department of Transport data demonstrates that underinflated tyres can lead to skidding, hydroplaning, increased stopping distance, and blowouts. All of these tyre failure issues increase the chances for crashes that can result in fatalities and injuries. The International Tyre and Rubber Association cites tyre under-inflation as the “single most common” factor in tyre failure.

KMMG and The Ray have committed to fully fund the acquisition and installation of the WheelRight tyre safety technology, thereby providing the services free of charge to drivers on The Ray, and creating more awareness of the dangers and negative economic impacts of driving with under or overinflated tyres and badly worn treads. Annually, more than 762,000 visitors traveling in nearly 244,000 cars and trucks stop at the West Point VIC for travel information and comfort breaks.

Additionally, KMMG and The Ray are providing an air compressor at the Visitor Centre, which will allow drivers to adjust tyre inflation at no charge, thereby reducing maintenance costs and achieving better fuel efficiency.

“The Ray is a living laboratory for the big ideas, the radical innovations, and the simple, smart choices that can create safer and cleaner transportation in the US and world,” said Harriet Langford, president of The Ray. “The convenience of a drive-through tyre check station will save lives on The Ray, while also demonstrating how to reduce carbon pollution, cheaply, on roads today.”

The US Department of Transportation’s (DoT’s) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than a quarter of automobiles and about a third of light trucks (including sport utility vehicles, vans and pickup trucks) on the roadways of the US have one or more tyres underinflated eight pounds per square inch (psi) or more below the level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

In 1999, underinflated tyres contributed to 247 of 32,061 fatalities and 23,100 of almost three million injuries reported that year.

Incorrect tyre pressure reduces the fuel economy performance of cars and trucks, which not only leads to wasted fuel and unnecessary fuel costs, but also increases air pollution from the vehicle tailpipe. DOT estimates that approximately five million gallons of fuel are wasted every day in the US due to low tyre pressure, equating to two billion gallons of fuel wasted annually. Also, according to Edmonds.com, underinflated tyres increase tyre wear, which increases the drivers’ vehicle maintenance and operation costs.

In a 2015 deployment of the WheelRight tyre safety system, the British agency Highways England measured almost 23,000 vehicles over a six-month period, and found approximately 1,500 grossly under-inflated passenger vehicle tyres and 370 grossly under-inflated heavy truck tyres. WheelRight estimated the financial benefits from the awareness campaign and subsequent safety actions topped £3.5 million for the period.

The installation of the WheelRight tyre safety system is the second major financial investment that Kia Motors America (KMA) and KMMG have made to advancing and demonstrating cutting-edge technologies on The Ray. In 2015, KMA financed the installation of the Southeast region’s first Level 3 electric vehicle charging station powered by a solar array, otherwise known as PV4EV, at the West Point VIC. KMMG and KMA have been trusted and highly valued partners in The Ray since its inception.

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Category: International News, Product News

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