Continental Tyres of the not-too-distant future will be able to relay to the vehicle operator when their tread depth reaches the minimum level.
The new technology will be incorporated into existing tyre pressure-monitoring devices, and will also include sensors to measure load on the tyre.
The sensors work by detecting changes in the tyre’s “rolling characteristics”, along with variations in tyre deformation.
A vehicle’s on-board computer systems gradually ‘learn’ the tyre’s characteristics from new, enabling them to slowly monitor the tyre over time to know when the tread depth is getting low.
Once the minimum tread depth has been reached, a warning light or message in the cabin tells the driver – or even a local service centre through wireless technology - that it’s time for some new rubber.
Continental says the new technology will complement existing rubber tread-depth indicators, which will still be incorporated in the design of future tyres.
Load sensors will also form part of Continental’s future plans, enabling the system to inform the driver if a vehicle has been overloaded, or otherwise tell the vehicle’s other electronically-controllable features to adjust for additional weight.
From November this year, tyre pressure monitors will be mandatory for all new passenger vehicles (class M1) sold within the European Union.
Along with the obvious safety benefits of a system that can alert drivers to deflating tyres, the law is designed to ensure drivers have inflated tyres to their optimum operating pressures; saving fuel and reducing emissions.
Continental expects the new technologies will be available from 2017.