| 16th July 2012
Tyres are critical components of your vehicle, both from a functional and safety perspective. While maintaining the highest levels of safety and quality in their tyres, top tyre manufacturers are constantly working on newer innovations in tyre technology.
These innovations are directed towards making tyres safer, more environmentally-friendly and improving overall driving comfort.
Below are five of the most innovative and intelligent tyre technologies in recent years. Some of these technologies are already available commercially, while for some, we may have to wait a little bit longer...
Punctured tyres and unsafe tyre blowouts may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to airless tyres. Manufacturers like Bridgestone and Michelin are working on this technology.
The Bridgestone airless tyre concept that was unveiled most recently was very well received. The spokes in the tyre are made out of an eco-friendly thermoplastic resin.
An intermesh of these spokes supports the tyre tread, preventing tyre collapse when the vehicle moves. Preventing tyre collapse is exactly what air pressure in a regular tyre does, so that function is effectively taken care of in the airless tyre concept.
Bridgestone airless tyre concept
Currently a concept, once airless tyres make it to commercial production, there should hopefully be no more monitoring air pressure and no more fear of punctures!
Run Flat Tyres
Till the time when we do get airless tyres, punctures will still occur. 'Run flat tyre technology' addresses this issue.
A 'run flat tyre' continues to keep the vehicle moving - even after a puncture - to get you home or to the nearest garage. No more getting stranded in the middle of nowhere!
How 'run flat tyre technology' works
When air is lost due to a puncture, the tyre collapses and cannot hold up the weight of the vehicle so, naturally, the vehicle stops. In run flat tyres, the tyre sidewalls are reinforced with tough rubber inserts that hold up your vehicle and enable you to traverse some extra distance.
Vehicles like the BMW 5 series are fitted with run flat tyres as standard equipment.
All Weather Intelligent Tyre Technology
Are you tired of changing your tyres every time the weather changes? Soon, you may not have to, as a team of German researchers are developing an 'intelligent' tyre that will adapt itself to existing weather conditions, whether it's summer or winter.
Research is being conducted on the adaptive tyre at the University of Applied Sciences at Leipzig, Germany. According to research head Dr. Reimer, electronic sensors present on the tyre 'read' on-road conditions - whether the surface is dry, wet or has snow. The tyre profile is automatically altered to suit that condition.
Still in the research stage, the adaptive tyre is a long way away from commercial production, but it's super technology to look forward to. With the adaptive tyre, you can be sure that you are getting the best from your tyres at all times, because you're using the optimally suited tyre at all times.
Colour Printing on Tyre Sidewalls
Bridgestone has developed innovative tyre-printing technology that will produce colourful tyres sporting creative designs.
The current printing technology makes use of white rubber. You can see white printing on the tyre sidewalls. However, a large quantity of the white rubber needs to be used, which pushes up the weight of the tyre and negatively impacts fuel efficiency and affects the environment.
The Bridgestone colour printing technology incorporates a double protective layer and uses inks specifically developed for printing, making the tyre not only more colourful, but also more environmentally friendly.
Innovative printing on tyre sidewalls by Bridgestone
When Bridgestone eventually goes commercial with this technology, boring black and white tyres may become a thing of the past and you will have the chance to personalize your tyres with your favourite designs.
Tyre Technology for Electric Vehicles (EV)
With the increasingly delicate environmental situation, it is clear that the automotive future will be dominated by EVs. Continental Tyres has been relentlessly working on tyre technology for EVs and recently unveiled its innovative Conti.eContact tyres created specially for electric cars.
Note the unique tread design of the Conti.eContact tyres.
The Conti.eContact tyre design has an unusually large diameter and aerodynamic rims to reduce the rolling resistance and extend the range of the vehicle. Even the sidewall design is constructed as to minimize the wind resistance, and special consideration has been given to the tread design of the tyre to make it suitable for EVs.
These are just some of the tyre technologies we can expect in the future. We're sure more technologies are lurking just around the corner to make your driving experience more satisfying and stress free!
(Run flat tyre infograph courtesy of Tyrepac)
This article is provided by Azzam Sheikh on behalf of National Tyres and Autocare, the UK's no.1 fast fit service for run flat tyres and auto parts.
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