Tyre-monitoring software will augment TPMS, infers tread depth

May 08, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Automotive supplier Continental AG has developed a technique that detects if a tyre has insufficient tread depth. The software deduces the actual tread depth from the gradual changes in the tyre's rolling behaviour over time. the driver will be informed in good time if a tyre is run down to below the tread depth required to maintain safety through a warning on the dashboard.

For this innovative principle of tread depth measurement, Continental utilises the gradual changes in rolling characteristics over an extended period caused by wear. Intensive tests conducted by tyre and electronics developers provided a comprehensive data basis that will be fed into future tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) controllers. In use, the sensor compares the rolling behaviour with the data stored for each specific tyre type. Once the tread has decreased beyond a type-specific threshold value, the system suggests it's time to change the respective tyre. Optionally it would be feasible for the car's telematics unit to inform the service station (that looks after that vehicle).

The new function will be connected with a TPMS. Continental said that it would enter volume production in 2017. Already, as of November 2014, it will become mandatory throughout the European Union that new cars are equipped with a TPMS. Continental's approach for such system is directly measure the pressure by means of a sensor which will be either integrated into the valve or under the tyre tread.

The introduction of the tread depth-aware tyre is another step on the way towards a 'smart tyre'. Another function whose market introduction can be expected soon is load detection. This software-based feature also analyses the rolling behaviour and detects after a short driving distance if the load limit has been exceeded. Continental expects that the vehicle weight, acquired through the analysis of the rolling behaviour, can be fed into future driver assistance systems as an additional parameter, contributing to further increase driving safety.