'Thinking' tyre adapts to weather

2012-04-24 07:35

HANOVER, Germany - South African drivers may not suffer the hassle of having to change their tyres between summer and winter but doesn't the idea of a tyre fit for any road conditions seem like a good idea? Let's hope these clever rollers have a "pothole" setting...

A group of researchers at a Leipzig university is developing the world's first "intelligent" tyre, one which automatically adapts itself to the prevailing weather even while you are driving. The team, led by Detlef Riemer at the University of Applied Sciences, unveiled the "adaptive tyre" at the 2012 Hanover Industrial Fair, the world's biggest, in this northern German city from April 23-27.


Riemer said: "Today's choice of tyres is always a compromise between the ability to brake and petrol consumption. The driver has to consider every sort of weather and you can't change tyres while you're driving."

Riemer's "adaptive tyre" is equipped with electronic sensors which recognise different types of road - tarmac or not - and whether it's dry, raining or snowing and can raise, lower or widen their profile accordingly, even when the car is moving.

"That means your car is always equipped with the best possible tyre and noise and petrol consumption are automatically optimised, too," Riemer enthused. "The driver no longer has to think about adapting his tyres. The tyre itself 'thinks' too."

The tyre is still a long way from a finished product and research is ongoing, notably on the materials that can be used for the moveable parts of the tyre's profiles.

"We've patented it already... just in case," Riemer said.