Remote tire pressure monitoring to improve the safety of autonomous vehicles

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Falken Tire’s parent company, Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI), has developed a solution to remotely monitor the tire pressure of an unoccupied vehicle. In what’s billed as “a crucial step” toward ensuring the safety of autonomous vehicles of Level 4 and above, SRI has successfully established links between its tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and an autonomous driving control center.

The new technology has the potential to support predictive maintenance to prevent flat tires or other tire condition concerns that may pose a risk to the safe operation of autonomous vehicles. It has been developed in collaboration with the Center for Research on Adoption of NextGen Transportation Systems (GRANTS), which is based at Gunma University in Japan. Having worked together on joint research since May 2019, links have now been established for communicating tire data between an autonomous vehicle and the Driving Control Centre at GRANTS.

The system works with an indirect TPMS mounted inside the tire rim. This transmits pressure data to the onboard computer system via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which in turn sends the data to the GRANTS control center. The pressure of each individual tire can be monitored from the control center via a data management display.

This development is one of a number of technologies that SRI is developing to achieve greater safety and performance while reducing environmental impact. Earlier this year it unveiled its Smart Tyre Concept, a suite of tire technologies that provide greater fuel efficiency, increased tire durability and improved safety while also being more environmentally friendly. SRI says it will continue to develop systems and services that anticipate and pre-empt issues that can result from inappropriate tire pressure, wear or damage.

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