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Tyre safety takes a front seat in TYRESENSE project

Proper tyre maintenance is an important yet often neglected element in road safety. Studies have shown that while, in some European countries, three out of four people wash their cars every month, only one in seven checks their tyre pressure. Properly maintained tyres improve the steering, stopping, traction, and load-carrying capability of your vehicle.

The EUREKA E! 2375 TYRESENSE project is developing sensors that can be embedded in tyres to detect critical driving conditions, helping to reduce maintenance costs and environmental impact, and preventing potentially life-threatening accidents.

“The importance of checking your tyres cannot be overstated, says Eckhard Quandt of the Center of Advanced European Studies and Research, in Germany. “Remember, tyres are the only contact between your vehicle and the road. Not only are under-inflated tyres more prone to damage and failure, having potentially serious consequences in terms of safety, but they can also lead to higher fuel costs.”

Monitoring the tyre

The deformation of tyre material under static and driving conditions can provide a great deal of important information. The aim of the EUREKA TYRESENSE project, carried out by partners in Germany and Luxembourg, was to develop a sensor system for monitoring critical tyre conditions such as pressure and temperature, as well as conditions between the tyre and roadway.

It had to comply with a number of requirements. “The proposed system will reduce maintenance costs, prevent catastrophic failures, such as blowouts, and, ultimately, reduce environmental impact by increasing tyre lifetime,” says Quandt. “It will also be capable of recognising the so-called 'slip position', which indicates loss of grip before a tyre begins to slide on the road surface. This means we can warn drivers to slow down under dangerous conditions. In other words, we are introducing a powerful new tool for enhancing active vehicle safety.”

The new sensor could also be linked to the development of new tyres with improved force transmission under different driving conditions and an improved anti-blocking system.

The future looks bright

Project participants believe that TYRESENSE will hit the ground running, with partners looking to exploit an initial market of 186 million tyres in Europe, working with major tyre manufacturer Goodyear. There is also the potential for widened industrial research partnerships in the area of remote magneto-elastic sensors, and a variety of new applications for this exciting technology, including torque and stress measurements on rotating shafts and in engines or turbines, or pressure measurements in chemical plants.

All TYRESENSE partners, in Germany and Luxembourg, have acknowledged the invaluable support of the EUREKA programme in getting the project off and running and seeing it to a successful conclusion.

Sally Horspool | alfa
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