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Will the tyre of the future be able to automatically adapt to driving conditions?

New tyres Published the 15/10/2013 by Connor

Imagine a tyre that can put in some serious lap times on the track in summer and drive over snowbound mountain passes as you head to the slopes in winter. Can we dream of such a versatile product in the future? For a team of German researchers, the answer is yes.

Tyre tracks German researchers are working on the tyre of the future that can change its appearance depending on driving conditions - Copyright © :

There is no need to be an expert to understand that the performance of car tyres directly depends on road conditions. If you are out driving and enjoying the nice summer weather, you need a tyre that can perform at high temperatures. On the other hand, if you are heading to the mountains in winter, you need tyres adapted to much lower temperatures.

If you decide to step into a racing driver’s shoes to put in some fast laps around the track, it is best to fit tyres designed for sporty driving. In another context, special tyres are a must if you prefer to be an ace behind the wheel on ice, a surface on which even winter tyres remain relatively efficient.

Depending on driving conditions, there are a large variety of tyres which represents a high cost is you are an adventurer who likes to drive in many different environments. And what if there was an alternative?

For researchers at Liepzig University in Germany, the answer is yes: Unveiled last April at the Hanover Fair, the idea of an intelligent tyre continues to gain ground.

Thanks to a number of sensors distributed on the tyre, the tread would be able to change its appearance by itself, to better adapt to driving conditions. Parameters such as temperature or road type (dirt track, tarmac, snow...) would be analysed in real time, to guarantee the best possible handling depending on road conditions. The progress in terms of fuel consumption would also be interesting.

On paper, the idea seems ingenious, but it has to be technically feasible. For their part, the researchers indicate that development is ongoing and that a patent application has already been submitted. So, when are we going to get an intelligent and adaptable tyre?