Measuring tyre wear with on-car radar
Since October 2018, four researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the USA have worked together with Bridgestone to develop a means for vehicles to automatically measure tyre wear. The result of this collaboration is Osprey, a mmWave sensing system that reportedly can provide accurate measurements of tyre wear in real-time.
Akarsh Prabhakara, Vaibhav Singh, Swarun Kumar and Anthony Rowe recently published details of their work on a technology that bears similarities to the radar used in other automotive applications. “Millimetre wave radars are common in vehicles today,” comments Prabhakara. “It’s used for collision avoidance, cruise control, and other such features. Our system repurposes these radars for tyre wear sensing.”
The radar data is processed using a technique called Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar. This technique exploits the tyre’s natural rotation and boosts the resolution of commodity radars to be able to measure millimetre changes in tyre wear. This technology also includes special metallic structures stuck in the groove serving as markers and ensuring that the radar still receives important reflections even when dust, snow, or similar debris gets accumulated in the grooves. In addition to tyre wear sensing, the system also tackles another important problem – detecting and localising harmful, foreign objects such as nails.
“This technology provides a sensing infrastructure which can measure tyre wear accurately, without embedding any sort of electronics in the tyre and being resilient to debris,” says Prabhakara. “Our ultimate goal is to save lives.”
The researchers’ paper can be read here.