Nokia, Finland – Smart tires will be commonplace within five years at the latest, according to Finnish tire manufacturer Nokian Tyres.
The trend is driven by the further advancement of automatisation of traffic, which also sets new requirements for car tires, said Nokian in a 26 June blog post.
For instance, when a car is not human-controlled, it must be able to individually observe driving conditions via sensors installed on tires.
In addition, old and familiar safety characteristics, such as grip on ice and aquaplaning resistance, will be joined by technology that produces real-time data.
“If a car does not have an active driver to ensure that the tires are safe to use, safety needs to be measured in another way,” explained Mika Penttilä, head of digital technology for Nokian Tyres.
Autonomous cars, for example, will be able to calculate the prevailing driving conditions using information received from tires combined with weather data.
Tire sensors can also monitor tire wear, inflation pressure, and the temperature inside the tire.
Smart tires also enable new tire-related service models that can be utilised even before we ever see autonomous cars on the streets.
This could mean an “effortless and unnoticeable” purchase of new tires when car tires are worn down, according to Penttilä.
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.
“This is 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,” explained Jukka Kasi, SVP of products & marketing for Nokian Tyres.
Preventive maintenance becomes especially important as the popularity of shared-use vehicles increases – and especially once they start operating autonomously.
While tire pressure monitoring systems are already well-known to consumers, Nokian says that more advanced technology has so far been reserved for professional use.
For instance, Nokian Tyres Intuitu is a concept for agriculture and contracting tires that combines tires with embedded sensors and a mobile app for data collection.
Kasi expects solutions like Intuitu will become commonplace in consumer use, even before autonomous vehicles on the roads.
“Smart tires will first become common on electric vehicles, since they have large tires and lots of sensors and links to the tires. This will happen in about five years,” Kasi concluded.