Tyre monitoring that generates its own electricity
Sumito Rubber Industries has been working in collaboration with Professor Hiroshi Tan of Kansai University to develop a device, the Energy Harvester, that powers itself to monitor tyre tread wear.
Smart tyres are nothing new, Continental introduced its Side Wall Torsion (SWT) sensor a few years ago, which was designed to integrate with braking systems and improve stability. In 2018, Goodyear also launched its Intelligent Tyres Concept, a tyre fitted with sensors and cloud-based algorithms capable of communicating with fleet operators via an app.
Greatly improving tyre safety
The Energy Harvester is designed to improve the safety of conventional and autonomous cars by keeping an eye on tyre tread without the driver having to remember to do so. It works through a tiny system of sensors bonded to the inside of the tyre wall. This generates static electricity, which in turn powers small sensors that transmit data to the vehicle’s electronic system using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Two layers of rubber, covered in a film that creates a negative and positive charge, detect tyre degeneration over time.
Working in conjunction with the vehicle’s tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), the Energy Harvester could warn of excessively worn tyres before they become illegal or dangerous.
Image: Falken Tyres