Continental AG announced that it is developing tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) sensors that will be able to detect when a tire change is necessary due to insufficient tread depth.
The company says intelligent software in the sensor deduces tread depth from gradual changes in tire rolling characteristics.
The in-tire pressure sensor infers running characteristics from the variations in tire deformation. The new feature is tentatively slated to be available as of 2017 in new vehicle models equipped with direct TPMS from Continental's electronic Tire Information System (eTIS).
“Legislators all over the world have defined a minimum tire tread depth for safe driving,” said Andreas Wolf, head of Continental’s Body & Security business unit.
“We are delighted that we will, in future, be able to conveniently read tread depth electronically with the aid of sensors embedded in the tires.”
Continental says its engineers draw on a tire's gradually changing rolling characteristics over a longer period of time. Tire and electronics developers conducted an intensive series of tests that allowed the basic data to be fed into the electronics of future vehicles. The specifics of the tires' altered rolling characteristics are compared with the accumulated empirical data.
If the tread is run down to below a tire-specific threshold value, the on-board electrical system signals that a tire change is due. The vehicle's telematics module is even capable of informing the local auto service center.