Smart tires will be commonplace within the next five years and will first appear on electric vehicles, according to Nokian Tyres.
“The automatization of traffic is advancing, which also sets new requirements for car tires,” the company said. “The old and familiar safety characteristics, such as grip on ice and aquaplaning resistance, will be joined by technology that produces real-time data.”
When information received from tires is combined with weather data, for example, the vehicle’s on-board information system can form a picture of the prevailing driving conditions and could adjust the driving accordingly. Future tire sensors would also be able to monitor tire wear, inflation pressure, and the temperature inside the tire.
Smart tires will also enable new tire-related service models that can be utilized, and will be able to tell drivers when it needs to be replaced. As your tires wear down, sensors can notify the tire shop, which can then deliver a new set to you or even fit them on your vehicle.
“In the future, tires will still continue to wear down and require replacement. However, purchasing a new tire set may become more effortless and unnoticeable than before,” said Mika Penttilä, Head of Digital Technology for Nokian Tyres.
The tire can relay the wear data to the onboard information system, which notifies the driver that the tires can be safely used for another three months, the company said. At the same time, the system instructs them to contact the nearest tire retailer and provides their contact information. This would be similar to how current cars can notify the driver that they are running out of fuel and provide navigation guidance to the nearest service station.
Preventive maintenance to this regard will become especially important as the popularity of shared-use vehicles increases – and especially once autonomous vehicles become commonplace.
Even though the technology is still developing, different sensor and smart tire solutions are already available. TPMS tire pressure sensors are already well-known to consumers, but more advanced technology has so far been reserved for professional use. For example, Nokian Tyres Intuitu is a concept for agriculture and contracting tires that combines tires with embedded sensors and a mobile app for data collection.