A new tyre monitoring system could alert drivers to potentially dangerous defects as they develop.
Bridgestone has revealed details of a partnership with IT giant Microsoft which aims to extend tyre monitoring beyond measuring pressure to tracking and reporting damage in real time.
The tyre damage monitoring system uses existing hardware and software to detect damage to the body of the tyre such as bulges or splits caused by hitting a pothole, and alert the driver in the same way that existing pressure monitors do.
As well as warning a driver of sudden damage to a tyre, the system could also automatically alert local authorities to the location of the hazard that caused the damage and warn other connected cars.
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Bridgestone says the world-first system could help save lives by identifying problems before they become serious enough to cause an accident. In the UK, tyre failure contributes to almost a third of car accidents, according to Department for Transport data.
The system is designed to enhance tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) which have been mandatory on all new cars since 2012. It can be used without any additional hardware on any car that uses the cloud-connected Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP). Brands already using the MCVP include Ford and Volkswagen.
Using the MCVP cloud framework together with data from existing sensors, the damage monitoring system uses algorithms to detect events affecting the tyre surface and carcass. The driver can then be immediately notified of the hazard via a dashboard warning and take action safely, before the problem worsens.
Bridgestone says that as well protecting individual vehicles and their occupants, the system could have broader implications for road maintenance and autonomous vehicles. By recording where damage occurred, the connected system could alert road maintenance authorities to potential hazards such as potholes more quickly. It also claims that as vehicle-to-vehicle communication becomes more commonplace it could alert following vehicles to the hazard.
Laurent Dartoux, CEO and president of Bridgestone EMIA, says: “Digital is such a huge part of what we do today at Bridgestone; it’s imperative that we work with industry-leading partners who can support our needs today and in the future. By teaming up with Microsoft we have the opportunity to bring our tyre damage monitoring system to millions of drivers, offering them better safety and peace of mind.”