IoT for Tires: Reinventing the Wheel

Posted by on May 31, 2017 at 5:00 AM Carmi Brandis  
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Can you trust your tires? Whether you are a fleet manager, tire manufacture, or consumer, a vehicle's tires drastically affect its overall performance and safety. Worn tires can cause blowouts and lead to lower overall fuel economy. For consumers, a tire blowout could lead to physical harm; for fleet managers and manufacturers, blowouts can result in lawsuits. Tire manufacturers are accountable for their product, which means their tires need to be backed up by data collected from real-world driving conditions.

Tires embedded with IoT sensors deliver data for predictive maintenance that lead to better safety, improved fuel economy, and extended tire life because they give drivers, tire manufacturers, and fleet managers precise information on tire and road conditions.

IoT Tires Provide a Longer, Safer Drive

IoT tires can prevent automotive collisions and accidents — and even save lives — by alerting drivers to the number one cause of tire blowouts: under-inflation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 35% of accidents caused by vehicle malfunction are due to tire issues. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), which come standard in all vehicles, only can tell a driver they need to inflate their tires. IoT tires can show drivers how low their tire pressure is and even send alerts to drivers’ phones when tire pressure dips to dangerous levels.

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Data collected from IoT tires also helps drivers make more informed maintenance decisions to increase tire lifespans. Proper inflation is one key aspect of tire longevity, but IoT tires can collect additional information — from road conditions and driving habits — to further lengthen the life of a tire. For example, if an IoT tire typically is driven on bumpy roads with potholes, or if the driver has aggressive driving habits, the tire can send data to a dashboard or cellular phone that alerts the driver to change their tires sooner rather than later to prevent flats and blowouts.

Increased Fuel Efficiency

In What You Can Do on the Road, the EPA reports that under-inflated tires can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 3%. While every day drivers may not notice this small change in fuel economy, fleet managers certainly do. Large commercial fleets can spend millions of dollars in fuel over the course of a year, so even a 3% reduction can lead to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, in fuel savings each year. IoT tires provide fleets with proactive information to increase tire performance while eliminating the need for time consuming, manual tire pressure and maintenance checks.

With IoT tires, fleet managers can monitor and fine-tune their tire filling practices. If a fleet manager detects a truck with low air pressure, fleet technicians can be alerted to deal with the problem as soon as the truck arrives at the facility.

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IoT tires also will be a great addition to new vehicles that need to conform to legislative CO2 emission standards. In 2016, the EPA and NHTSA presented new U.S. guidelines requiring that light-duty vehicles reach a minimum of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Tire manufacturers can position IoT tires as a necessity for new vehicle manufacturers to meet environmental guidelines.

Data to Improve Roads and Freeways

One of the most interesting uses of IoT tires won’t be for correct pressure or fuel economy, but for reporting on the road itself. If fleet managers and local governments are aware of which roads are the worst for tire performance, they can take steps to alert drivers of alternate routes or fix problematic roadways. For example, if a fleet manager notices that a particular freeway or road is significantly lowering tire pressure, they can determine whether an alternative route is better for overall fuel economy.

Local and state governments also could use information generated by IoT tires to plan road maintenance in areas with potholes, bumps, or other wear on the road. Periodic information gathered on road conditions can inform local and state public work entities whether or not their maintenance work effectively improves blacktop conditions. 

Ultimately, IoT tires allow manufactures to produce safer tires; fleet managers can make better decisions when it comes to maintenance and planning shipping routes; and consumers can take better care of their tires to make the road safer for everyone.

Interested in connecting your tires to a cellular IoT network? Contact Aeris to find the best IoT monitoring solutions for your application.

Topics: IoT, Fleet Telematics, smart tires, tires