Virtual Sensors For Tyre Monitoring

| Transport

In-tyre sensors harvest their own energy from the rotation of the wheels

Multiple sensor input provides data required for estimating remaining tread depth to provide improved maintenance insights for vehicle fleets

Sensata Technologies has collaborated with NIRA Dynamics to create an accurate and robust tyre Tread Depth Monitoring (TDM) virtual sensor system for automotive OEMs that optimises tyre health and improves vehicle safety, efficiency and availability. The TDM system uses NIRA Dynamics’ tread wear estimation software and is designed to give vehicle OEMs, drivers and fleets timely alerts when tyres have worn to unsafe levels and need servicing.

The system benefits from Sensata’s expertise in automotive sensors combined with NIRA Dynamics’ embedded software and cloud services to add new safety and maintenance capabilities to existing tyre products, for example tyre pressure monitoring.

The virtual sensor system is new technology that gathers and combines data from multiple existing sensors on a vehicle, including Sensata’s tyre pressure sensors, to provide accurate information about tyre wear and tear.

This software-based system uses an algorithm that monitors the tyre tread’s decreasing depth, while compensating for a wide range of real-world environmental factors. The system tracks tyres through changes and rotations and provides a more comprehensive approach than just measuring the distance travelled.

The virtual TDM can be integrated into existing Electronic Control Units (ECU) and is designed to work with many combinations of tyre and vehicle designs. Vehicle manufacturers can quickly introduce and implement it across vehicle platforms without the need for custom software development.

Eric Sorret, Vice President of Automotive at Sensata technologies said, “We’re excited to collaborate with NIRA Dynamics on new technology for the automotive industry. This system provides accurate and useful information to our customers.”

According to Lisa Åbom, CEO at NIRA Dynamics, by combining the two companies’ decades of experience in vehicle data cloud services and Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems, infrastructure, and extensive customer base, vehicle manufacturers can gain additional insights and information for customers without the need to fit additional hardware on the vehicle.

“This system will improve safety, creating more driver awareness about the quality of their tyres to decrease the number of tyre-related accidents,” she says.

Self-Charging Tyre Wear Detection

Tyre manufacturer Falken has been working with Professor Hiroshi Tani of Kansai University, Japan, on a new sensor to measure tyre wear and help engineers to create longer lasting tyres.

The sensors harvest their own energy and use the rotation of the wheel to generate electricity and supply power to peripheral sensors installed in the tyre without relying on batteries. The technology enables the calculation of a tyre’s contact patch and wheel rotations, and harvests stress levels based on amplitude changes induced by tyre rotation. The data obtained can then be extrapolated to determine tyre wear.

At the same time, the research team has developed a technique to measure the tyre contact patch by installing several miniature energy harvesters in each tyre and reading into the data they gather. These new technologies open the door to different applications and provide information that can be incorporated into future tyre developments.

“This new Energy Harvester technology is a big step towards the implementation of our sustainability policy, it supports us in developing tyres with an optimised contact patch and thus longer life,” comments Dr Bernd Löwenhaupt, managing director at Falken parent company, Sumitomo Rubber Europe.

Jonathan Newell
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