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Germans Working On All Weather Transformer Tires

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On: Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:13AM | By: Chris Weiss

Germans Working On All Weather Transformer Tires

Sensor systems are currently being used in all types of vehicular applications. Cars can now maintain lanes, stop automatically and parallel park using advanced sensor systems. Really, those are all things the driver should be quite capable of himself. Over in Germany, researchers are applying sensors to a function that drivers have little control over: tire traction.

A team of Leipzig University researchers led by Detlef Reimer is working on what's being called the world's first intelligent tire. The tire attempts to take the designation "all weather" a little more seriously by monitoring terrain conditions and adapting itself to fit them.

The tires use electronic sensors to recognize elements like rain, snow and unpaved road and adjust their profile accordingly, even while the car is moving. It's almost as awesome as The Animal, that 80s toy that had tire retractable tire claws for extra grip (Google it if you're not sure; you won't be disappointed).

If these tires were to become a reality, you could theoretically eliminate the hassle of separate snow and summer tires. Current all-weather tires try to shoot the gap, but often don't perform as well as dedicated tires. Here in the Rockies, all-weather tires also tend to be treated like summer tires when it comes to chain closures (i.e. you have to chain up even with 4WD, whereas 4WD + snow tires = go).

Not only would the tires help in dramatic situations like a snowstorm, but they'd help to optimize fuel efficiency, noise and feel.

The intelligent tires are on display at this week's Hanover Fair. They remain a long way from viable product, as much research on materials and design still needs to be done.


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