While tires might just look like round, black pieces of rubber, their simple exteriors belie some sophisticated engineering. And with its new Cyber Tire technology, Pirelli has taken them into the digital age.
As Evo reports, the Italian supplier of Formula One tires is currently working with Ferrari to test the innovative rubber on Modena's latest track-only hypercar, the FXX K. By embedding small sensors in each quadrant of the tires, Pirelli can relay real-time reports from the tire—including the friction coefficient, footprint, and pavement grade—to the vehicle's traction and stability control systems, allowing them to compensate for slippery surfaces or exploit grip.
Given the outrageous capabilities of modern supercars, the performance of the electronic aids are becoming a larger part of a vehicle's overall character, so the idea of a tire pressure sensors on steroids—so to speak—is a natural evolution in the quest for more useable power and better braking.
While there's no firm date on when we could start seeing talkative tires on to the market—and we look forward to reporting on those performance gains—Pirelli's technology chief Maurizio Boiocchi says we can expect to see them on high-end supercars in the next five years. And given the enormous potential for every type of driving, we can see this trickling down into mass market models in the next decade—price-permitting, of course.