Continental’s tire with improved tire sensors will be able to calculate and report the current load of the vehicle to the driver after just a few hundred meters of driving.
For an automatic load detection system, engineers took advantage of the physical properties of tires. The contact patch of the tire increases as a result of the weight bearing down on the tire. With the future generation of sensors, which will be fitted directly underneath the tread of the tire, the tire pressure monitoring system can accurately detect the size of this contact area.
With every revolution of the tire, the sensor registers the rolling characteristics of the tire on the road. Based on the existing tire pressure and precise deflection with load data tables for a specific tire, the system is able to inform the driver after just a block or two if a change in tire pressure would be appropriate for the current payload.
Andreas Wolf, head of the Body & Security Business Unit at Continental said: “In the past, it was more or less up to drivers to ‘guess-timate’ to the best of their abilities whether or not the maximum permitted payload of a car had already been reached. In the future, the vehicle will be able to tell the driver after just a few hundred meters whether the payload has already exceeded the maximum permitted limit, or whether the tire pressure would simply need to be adjusted accordingly. In this way, our tire pressure sensors will not only help to save fuel, but also offer active assistance in terms of vehicle safety.”
While the new load detection system and the sensors that will make it possible are still in development, Continental says the system will also enable improvements to assistance systems. While current emergency braking and steering systems make calculations based on a vehicle’s maximum payload, they could be made safer by using a vehicle’s actual weight.