VIZZOLA, Italy (June 25, 2002) — Pirelli S.p.A. is working on what it calls an “intelligent” tire system aimed at improving a vehicle's driving behavior.
Company officials outlined the so-called “cyber tire” to U.S. tire dealers attending Pirelli Tire North America's Partners' Meeting May 14-15 in Milan, Italy, and at the company's test track in Vizzola.
“The project is built on the idea that value can be added to tires,” said Filippi Massimo, platform and product manager of the company's recently formed tire system business unit.
Pirelli's concept for a cyber tire involves the use of sensors imbedded in the tire during production or added later that can provide information to a computer in the vehicle.
Using algorithms combined with Pirelli's own knowledge of tires, the company believes it can provide more road-tire interaction data quicker and in a more precise way to a vehicle's electronic stability program—thereby maintaining normal riding conditions.
Mr. Massimo said Pirelli is looking beyond providing only the tire's operating temperatures and pressure with its system and instead is seeking to improve vehicle behavior.
Pirelli has been working on the intelligent tire for three years, and Mr. Massimo said he expects to see products with the “cyber system” coming to market in the next 12 to 24 months, starting with the company's ultra-high performance and high performance tires. The tire maker, he added, already is working with several auto makers on using the concept.
Besides providing vehicle performance data, use of the chip also would allow the tracking of tires in the production process and would provide a link with the tire throughout its entire life.
As for the cost such a system would add to a tire, Mr. Massimo said it would depend on the level of information provided by the chip. If only temperature and pressure data are given, it will cost less than if it provides information related to braking and hydroplaning, he said.