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Smart Connected Tire Platform

Manufacturers are re-imagining tomorrow’s mobility future from the ground up – literally – through smart tire technology.

To read the entire 8 page white paper, click the Download PDF button on the top right of the page.

What do automobiles, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, bicycles, and airplanes all have in common?

A major component they share, among other things, is the use of tires. The tire is still important whether the vehicle is powered by a battery, hydrogen or carbon-based fuels. Despite seismic shifts in mobility, developments in powertrains, and the incorporation of software in cars, the tire continues to be the only component of vehicles that contacts the ground. And while tires move things from point A to B, they also play a critical role in safety, particularly braking.

Tires matter

Most people do not think much about tires and what really happens when the rubber hits the road. At best, we give them occasional glances (“Does that tire look low?” or “How much tread is left?”) and take them for periodic checkups at the service center. Commercial and agricultural vehicles, on the other hand, require more detailed and regular inspections. However, these inspections are neither smart nor automated, and can be easily influenced by subjectivity.

There is a direct relationship between tire condition and accidents, vehicle handling, and fuel consumption. There is also a direct relationship between a tire and the vehicle it is installed on – while the vehicle manufacturer determines what the tire pressure should be, they do not determine what type of tire should be used. It is likely that the same make and model tire, on two different OEM vehicles, will have different pressure settings.

Tires also impact fleet Operating Expenses (OpEx) directly and indirectly through fuel efficiency and maintenance. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), tires can impact OpEx by 10% to 15% in fleets. To put that in perspective, the average American family spends $5,000 annually on fuel for their vehicles. That means tire pressure alone influences between $500 to $750 of that cost. Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of vehicles for large fleets and you have a compelling financial impact. Additionally, discarded tires are a growing environmental concern as they are scrapped unless retreaded or used for alternative applications. Therefore, tires matter. However, not only do we lack a smart way to address these problems, but we also don’t fully understand how to optimize these rubber components.

Significance of smartness

Nearly 4 decades ago, companies started connecting critical capital assets for remote monitoring and support. It started with modems and gradually moved to the Internet where cost and performance enabled more use cases. This ultimately changed product design, as OEMs added software, sensors, error codes and internal diagnostics to aid in remote (and local) troubleshooting. Some refer to this as “smart,” others as “intelligence.” From the ingenious Bosch bell that alerted drivers of leaking air to RFID1 to the rudimentary Tire-pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), the concept of smart tires has come a long way, despite the variations in terminology..

While regulations have driven the adoption of TPMS, this was focused on safety and fuel economy concerns, not tire performance or next generation tire design. Thus, the true potential of smart connected tires is still being explored. It is not enough to only know the temperature or pressure; the rubber holds much more potential for smart technology. Additionally, smart connected tires could also offer cradle-to-grave alternative to ensure eco-friendly use at end-of-life.

Bosch Graph 900X450

To read the entire 8 page white paper, click the Download PDF button on the top right of the page.

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