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Continental develops tire pressure sensor

Continental is widening the range of functions available with its tire pressure sensors. The company has developed a new sensor that incorporates a load detection function. Previously, only special vehicles were capable of checking permitted axle loads, but the new sensor will allow all future vehicles to be able to calculate this information automatically. The issue of maximum car payloads tends to arise particularly before long holiday drives for private car users or on a day-to-day basis in the road transport industry. “In the past, it was more or less up to drivers to ‘guesstimate’ to the best of their abilities whether or not the maximum permitted payload of a car had already been reached,” explained Andreas Wolf, head of the body and security business unit at Continental. “In the future, the vehicle will be able to tell the driver, after just a few hundred meters, whether the payload has already exceeded the maximum permitted limit, or whether the tire pressure would simply need to be adjusted accordingly. In this way, our tire pressure sensors will not only help to save fuel, but also offer active assistance in terms of vehicle safety.”

For the automatic load detection system, Continental’s engineers have taken advantage of the physical properties of vehicle tires. The contact patch of the tire increases as a result of the weight bearing down on the tire. With the future generation of sensors, which will be fitted directly underneath the tread of the tire, the tire pressure monitoring system can accurately detect the size of this contact area. With every revolution of the tire, the sensor registers the rolling characteristics of the tire on the road. Based on the existing tire pressure and precise data about the tires fitted, the system is able to inform the driver after just a few hundred meters if a change in tire pressure would be appropriate for the current payload.

The company is developing new systems that will integrate the information from load detection sensors to form the basis for more vehicle improvements. Current vehicle assistance systems work on the assumption of a maximum payload, but future systems, such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Emergency Steer Assist (ESA) or Autonomous Emergency Braking Assistant (AEBA) will incorporate information about the actual vehicle weight in their responses, which will enable them to provide additional safety benefits. An additional tire pressure monitoring function has already entered series production with one vehicle manufacturer. A subfunction of Continental’s Filling Assistant automatically generates a short acoustic signal during tire filling, once the required tire pressure has been reached. This ensures that the tires always run on the correct pressure, even if they are filled using non-calibrated filling equipment. Rolling resistance is reduced as a result, and the tires perform to their maximum capability in terms of safety and comfort.

January 28, 2013

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