The idea of an intelligent tire that can read its own tread depth, temperature, contact patch shape, and more has been in the works for over a year now at Pirelli, but having recently switched partners on the Cyber Tire project, the company says the smart donuts could be on the road by 2013.
Last year Pirelli was working with Magnetti-Marelli and Brembo to develop its groundbreaking Cyber Tire into full-production status, but the tire maker is now paired up with Schrader Electronics. It's a solid match, as Schrader already specializes in OEM and aftermarket tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). Unlike the simple wheel-mounted TPMS, however, the Cyber Tire aims to integrate a whole slew of functions directly into the tire itself.
Pirelli is working to include operating temperatures and pressures, tire life and distance traversable while deflated, tracking of the grip and nature of the road surface, vertical load on the tire and dimensions of the tire's contact patch--all wirelessly transmitted to the car's computer from within the carcass of the tire itself. Once the car has the data, it can use it to make more intelligent decisions for traction, stability and ABS controls, improving dynamics for safety and performance in any condition.
So far the technology is still in the prototype stage, but Pirelli and Schrader have set a date of 2013 for the first production rubber to meet the road.