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Continental Presents Two New Tyre Technology Concepts for Greater Safety and Comfort

Continental introduced two new tyre technology concepts that would make for greater road safety and comfort in the future. The two systems enable continuous monitoring of the tyre’s condition as well as situation-matched adaptation of tyre performance characteristics to prevailing road conditions. The technologies, called ContiSense and ContiAdapt, made their debut at the recent 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) accompanied by a tyre study. 

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 tread depth and temperature. If the measured values are above or below predefined limits, the system at once alerts the driver. If anything penetrates the tread, a circuit in the tyre is closed, also triggering an immediate warning for the driver – faster than the systems used to date, which only warn the driver when the tyre pressure has already begun to fall. In future, the ContiSense system would feature additional sensors that could also be utilised individually. Thus information about the road surface, such as its temperature or the presence of snow, could be ‘felt’ by the tyre and passed on to the driver. The data could be transmitted to the vehicle electronics or via Bluetooth to a smartphone. 

ContiAdapt combines micro-compressors integrated into the wheel to adjust tyre pressure with a variable-width rim. The system could thus modify the size of the contact patch, which under different road conditions is a decisive factor for 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.

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 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. 

Continental considers both these tyre technology concepts promising solutions for the mobility of the future as tyres are adapted to meet the needs of automated driving and electrification. Low rolling resistance, for example, makes it possible for electric cars to cover greater distances on a single charge. At the same time, the tyres could be adapted to suit the driver’s personal preferences or in response to sudden changes in the weather. These concepts are seen as the logical next step in the future-oriented development of the REDI sensor, brought to market by Continental in 2014, which was instrumental in establishing smart communication between vehicle and tyre. 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.

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