Germany-based Continental has recently introduced two new systems. ContiSense monitors the health of the tyres and ContiAdapt adapts the tyre as per the road conditions.
Faster response for quicker damage control
ContiSense is based on the development of electrically conductive rubber compounds that enable electric signals to be sent from a sensor in the tyre to a receiver in the car. Rubber-based sensors continuously monitor both tread depth and tyre temperature. If the measured values are above or below predefined limits, the system at once alerts the driver. If anything penetrates the tread, it closes a circuit in the tyre, also triggering an immediate warning for the driver. This is much faster than the current systems, which only issue a warning when the tyre pressure has already begun to drop.
Continental claims that the ContiSense system will feature additional sensors that can also be utilized separately. In this way, information about the road surface, such as the temperature or the presence of snow will be “sensed” by the tyre and communicated to the driver. Data can be transmitted to the vehicle electronics or via Bluetooth to a smartphone.
Real-time profile-changing tyres
ContiAdapt combines micro-compressors integrated into the wheel to adjust the tyre pressure with a variable-width rim. The system can thus modify the size of the contact patch which under different road conditions is a decisive factor for both safety and comfort.
Four different combinations allow perfect adaptation to wet, uneven, slippery and normal conditions. For example, a smaller contact patch combined with high tyre pressure make for low rolling resistance and energy-efficient driving on smooth, dry roads. By contrast, the combination of a larger contact patch with lower tyre pressure delivers ideal grip on slippery roads.
The system also permits very low tyre pressures of below 1 bar to be set, to help ease the vehicle out of a parking space in deep snow, for example, or traverse a dangerous stretch of black ice.
A single concept tyre integrating all
ContiSense and ContiAdapt are joined by a concept tyre that enables the benefits of both systems to be fully leveraged. The tyre design features three different tread zones for driving on wet, slippery or dry surfaces. Depending on the tyre pressure and rim width, different tread zones are activated and the concept tyre adopts the required “footprint” in each case. In this way, the tyre characteristics adapt to the prevailing road conditions or driver preferences.
The new tyre technology concepts follow on from the two established mobility technologies: ContiSeal, for the automatic sealing of punctures, and ContiSilent, for a tangible reduction in tyre/road noise. Able to draw on more than a century of experience in tyre technology and with in-house expertise in the fields of vehicle electronics and automotive IT, Continental is systematically aligning its products with the future requirements of autonomous driving and electric mobility.
Continental's tyre division currently has 24 production and development locations worldwide. As one of the world's leading tyre manufacturers with around 54,000 employees, the tyre division achieved sales of €11.3 billion (Rs 88,758 crores) in 2017.
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