German Scientists Working On 'Adaptive Tires'

New Tires

New Tires

Consider this: every tire on the market today is a compromise. Do you want the ultimate in adhesion, for cornering in warm and dry conditions? Done, but don’t try to drive on the tire in winter months, especially if there’s snow on the ground.

Want off-road traction, capable of getting you anywhere you care to go, even through sand and mud? Done, but don’t expect to carry much speed into a corner on pavement, and don’t expect a quiet (or even bearable) highway ride.

While today’s all-season radial tires offer a reasonable blend of ride quality and handling across a wide variety of road and environmental conditions, they’re still sub-optimal for winter conditions, spirited driving or off-road exploration. The ideal tire would automatically adjust configuration and even compound to optimize itself for any condition.

If that sounds like the stuff of science fiction, don’t tell that to German researcher Detlef Riemer, who heads a team of researchers at the University of Applied Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. Phys.Org explains that Riemer and his team are working on “adaptive tires,” which self-adjust for optimum grip and fuel efficiency, regardless of terrain or weather.

The tire contains embedded sensors that recognize a change in terrain, as well as changes in environmental conditions. As Tire Business explains, actuators in the tire’s tread can then reconfigure the tread’s geometry to optimize grip for conditions.

The materials being tested include flexible actuators, piezo-ceramic actuators, shape memory alloys and other “smart materials,” all of which need to work in harmony to produce the desired results.

Don’t expect to see adaptive tires at your local warehouse club store anytime soon, though. Still in the concept stage, such a tire will likely prove to be years away from any commercial launch, assuming standards for safety and durability can even be met.
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Comments (8)
  1. i think if these tyres get half as much milleage as current mainstream tyres then they will be a winner. A tyre that you never have to change for weather / drivign conditions. This wil be a fantastic product

  2. @WizardsLore, except here in FL, where you can run summer tires year 'round...

  3. @ Kurt, and here too in Australia. In fact you would want a more durable tyre here if you lived outside of the cities.

  4. If they ever come out, don't expect a $200.00 price tag for a brand new set of those tires

  5. @burketwo, I'm happy when tires cost less than $200 each these days...

  6. @ Kurt, we would be happy if the good (brands) tyres are solde here for under $200 too. the cheap knock offs are less of course but need replacing far sooner !

  7. @WizardsLore, tires and oil are two things I never compromise on. Always buy the best I can, even if it means living on ramen and peanut butter.

  8. @Kurt, with you on that. Infact i put petrol on that too. it makes a difference in the long run as youe engine is jsut that much smoother and you wont have nearly as many problems if you were to use a lesser fuel !

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