HAIFA, Israel — Tactile Mobility Ltd., an Israeli firm active in "virtual-sensing technology" that has applications in autonomous vehicle operating systems, has developed a method it claims can measure tread depth continuously using a vehicle's existing dynamic sensors.
Haifa-based Tactile Mobility said its system gathers tactile data such as wheel speed, wheel angle, RPM, etc. from the vehicle's sensors and uses the data to generate "real-time actionable insights," such as warning drivers about tire tread deterioration and its impact on grip.
This new technology is an outgrowth of Tactile Mobility's research up to now into road mapping in connection with autonomous vehicle mobility.
Tactile Mobility said its proprietary technology collects "first principle," crucial, anonymized real-time data generated from vehicles' non-visual, existing sensors and turns them into actionable insights on road attributes including grades, grip, and curvatures as well as vehicle attributes such as weight, tire parameters and more.
In announcing this development, Tactile Mobility argues that tread depth is crucial in vehicle safety, tied directly to the vehicles' ability to grip the road, brake efficiently on wet surfaces and avoid aquaplaning.
"To prioritize driver and passenger safety, it's critical that vehicles contain cost-effective, virtual sensors that not only estimate tire tread depth in real-time, but also inform drivers when it's time to replace their tires," Boaz Mizrachi, co-founder of Tactile Mobility and its chief technology officer, said.
"For the first time, the mobility industry will have access to an affordable, in-vehicle solution that not only automatically monitors tire tread depth, but also warns drivers before their tires become unsafe."
Tactile Mobility said its method for reading tread depth uses a module embedded in the vehicle that runs proprietary algorithms and uses artificial intelligence to generate "actionable insights" about the vehicle-road dynamics in real time based on raw data ingested from multiple, existing, non-visual sensors.
With this ability, Tactile Mobility said it is developing a "comprehensive suite" of automated tire-health monitoring capabilities that it claims will be able to address all major tire conditions affecting vehicle safety including tire stiffness, tire type mismatch, tire blowout prediction and more.
Tactile Mobility, co-founded in 2012 by a pair of engineers, Yossi Shiri and Mr. Mizrachi, and businessman Alex Ackerman, said it is working with multiple OEMs, road authorities and municipalities on various projects to advance the technology.
One specific business partnership involves BMW A.G., which Tactile Mobility said is planning to equip some of its vehicles with the ability to analyze road-surface attributes under the tires, enabling detection of road conditions.