Intelligent tyre to 'read the road'

German scientists are developing an ‘intelligent’ tyre they say will adapt to road and weather conditions to provide optimum grip and fuel efficiency at all times.
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Detlef Riemer from the University of Applied Sciences in Leipzig showcased the concept at the Hanover Fair in Germany, telling PhysOrg website the adaptive tyre concept could mean drivers in countries with extreme weather conditions would not be forced to change their rubber between summer and winter.

The tyres will use electronic sensors to monitor the surface conditions and alter their profile and tread patterns depending on whether the road is sealed or unsealed, and if it is dry, raining or snowing. Minor alterations can be made on the move to ensure the tyres are suited to the varying conditions.

Tire Business website says materials currently under investigation include flexible and piezo-ceramic actuators and shape memory alloys, as well as a number of other ‘smart materials’.

The tyres could also be programed to be as quiet as possible, decreasing road noise and increasing passenger comfort.

Riemer admits the intelligent tyre concept faces many challenges and is still “a long way” from hitting the road, but says his team has patented the idea, “just in case”.