“Talking Tire” Could Boost Fuel Efficiency, Extend Tire Life

Schrader Electronics is developing a new tire-mounted sensor that will boost performance, fuel efficiency, and lifespan

The U.K.’s Schrader Electronics is developing a new tire-mounted sensor that will enable tires to “talk back” to the electronic systems in a moving vehicle. The real time monitoring system will boost performance, increase fuel mileage, and make tires last longer.

Schrader, which teamed up with Pirelli Tire on the technology, expects the full system to be ready for market within three years under the name “Cyber Tyre.” In effect, the sensor creates a supersmart tire that reports not only on its pressure and temperature, but also on tread depth, tire footprint, load, and road conditions.

Talking Tires and Sustainability

One tire takes about 7 gallons of crude oil to produce, and absent a 180 degree turn in population and economic development trends the number of cars on the road is only going to increase. A next-generation system for boosting tire lifespan is urgently needed in order to manage global petroleum consumption. Aside from the obvious benefit for fuel efficiency, a smarter and longer lasting tire would help relieve pressure on the disposal end of the tire lifecycle. Massive tire dumps are a notorious problem, and though the tire recycling industry is growing by leaps and bounds, there is a lot of catching up to do. Most tires are still burned as fuel or used in pavement, neither of which is an ideal solution.

Remote Sensors and Sustainability

The next generation of remote sensors and tracking devices is beginning to push into the sustainable future in other areas aside from automotive, especially those that harvest energy from their surroundings. Just a couple of examples are piezoelectric sensors that can be used to monitor wind turbines, machines and infrastructure  in real time while drawing energy from vibrating surfaces, and sensors that are being used to track sea turtles, powered by microbial fuel cells, use living organisms for fuel.

Image: Tire by psd on flickr.com.


Tina Casey

Tina writes frequently for CleanTechnica and other websites, with a focus on military, government and corporate sustainability, clean tech research and emerging energy technologies. She is a former Deputy Director of Public Affairs of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and author of books and articles on recycling and other conservation themes. She is currently Deputy Director of Public Information for the County of Union, New Jersey. Views expressed here are her own and do not necessarily reflect agency policy.