Vehicles are becoming more sophisticated so shouldn’t tires follow suit? Some would argue that tires are the most important safety feature on a car. From hugging a tight corner during a rainstorm to gripping the road while the brakes are being slammed, it’s important for the driver to know the condition of their wheels at all times. Granted, there have been some groundbreaking tire pressure monitors hitting the market – the Zus Tire Monitor comes to mind – but most are designed to detect slow leaks and not an immediate danger. We need tire technology that is a bit more proactive.
ContiSense and ContiAdapt Tires
Introducing ContiSense and ContiAdapt – two new tire technologies unveiled at this year’s IAA 2017 and designed by Continental – a world renown automotive supplier. With plans to integrate both technologies into one state-of-the-art concept tire, drivers will soon have a comprehensive alert system keeping a watchful eye on their four wheels. Whether it’s improperly inflated or damaged during a road trip, the ContiSense technology monitors and reports on your tires condition. The ContiAdapt, on the other hand, takes a more proactive approach to your safety and morphs the tire pressure and rim to prevailing road conditions.
“ContiSense is based on the development of electrically conductive rubber compounds that enable electric signals to be sent from a sensor in the tires to a receiver in the car.”
REDI Sensor Technology
According to a recent New Atlas article, performance of a car is diminished between 20-99% if the tires are not properly inflated. With small puncture holes expelling 0.1 percent PSI per hour, it’s imperative that drivers have sophisticated technology that provides instant notifications. The ContiSense comes equipped with an embedded REDI Sensor. This state-of-the-art sensor is capable of measuring tread depth and temperature – transmitting the data via electronically-conductive rubber to a receiver in the car by way of Bluetooth-to-smartphone connectivity. At the exact moment of tire puncture, the sensors send an immediate alert to the driver’s smartphone. There’s no waiting for the slow leak to turn into a more dire situation. This lets the driver take immediate action for their compromised tire.
“ContiAdapt combines micro-compressors integrated into the wheel to adjust the tire pressure with a variable-width rim.”
Proactive Warning System
The ContiSense is described as a reactive warning system, whereas the ContiAdapt is considered more proactive. The reason: the ContiAdapt sensor completely eliminates the human element out of the equation. Whether the road conditions are slippery or dry due to snow, rain, sleet, or dirt, tires integrated with Continental’s ContiAdapt system automatically adapting to prevailing conditions. Armed with three tread zones (wet, slippery, or dry) and four different settings, ContiAdapt changes the pressure, rim width, and size of the tires for optimal riding performance. If you’re caught in the middle of a downpour on an uneven highway, the ContiAdapt system will immediately morph itself to ensure stability in challenging road conditions.
In the future, the ContiSense system will feature additional sensors that can also be utilized individually. Thus information about the road surface, such as its temperature or the presence of snow, can be “felt” by the tire and passed on to the driver. This is still in its “concept phase” but the future is bright for Continental and its ever-growing inventory of tire technology.
The Future of Tire Technology
With both technologies on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA 2017), Continental Corp hopes to completely disruptive an automotive industry distracted by the latest in electric car innovation. The ContiSense and ContiAdapt systems will soon join an impressive lineup of tire technology that includes ContiSeal (automatic sealing of punctures) and ContiSilent (tire and road noise reduction). The next challenge for Continental: “systematically aligning its products with the future requirements of autonomous driving and electric mobility.”