CPI enables intelligent tyres that reduce carbon emissions and improve safety
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), the UK’s technology innovation provider for process manufacturing, announced that it is collaborating with Bath University and Silent Sensors to develop a key component for the future of intelligent tyres, using piezoelectric energy harvesting, which converts mechanical motion into electrical energy. This component will be part of the innovative Silent Sensors Tyre Management System (TMS) for vehicles. The technology, which is being funded by Innovate UK, will enable the production of TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems) sensors that can extract energy from the tyre. These new TPMS sensors represent a vital step towards the development of tyres with fully integrated traceability and sensing features. Such intelligent tyres will enhance vehicle safety, as well as reducing carbon emissions and fuel costs.
Regulations within the automotive industry have tightened and there is a higher number of light and heavy-duty vehicles on the roads today than ever before. Consequently, there is an increasing demand for fleet operators to monitor and reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of their vehicles. Suboptimal tyre inflation negatively affects road vehicle safety, fuel consumption and carbon emissions, but regular manual tyre checks are time consuming and expensive. Operators are increasingly looking for advanced tyres with TMS technology that provides accurate, real-time data on tyre condition. The global market for tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) hit US$7.59bn in 2016, according to a report by Persistence Market Research (PMR) and will continue to grow at 6.7% CAGR until 2024. The collaboration between CPI, Silent Sensors and Bath University will meet this growing need.
Silent Sensors – which specialises in tracking and sensor technology for the ‘Internet of Tyres’ – will develop energy harvesting and sensing technology to optimise tyre performance via the new TMS. Data from the tyre sensors will be used at the edge of the Internet of Things network to give vehicles the reflexes needed to stay safe and efficient; the data will also be fed into the cloud for analytics and transactional requirements such as carbon trading or paying by the kilometre.
“The intelligent tyre is our goal in the next two years and the piezoelectric materials that Bath University has developed show great promise,” said Marcus Taylor, CEO and co-founder of Silent Sensors. “Within our TMS tyre sensors we have energy harvesting and storage, micro-controllers, short range radio and sensor arrays that will enable future autonomous vehicles to use their tyres to detect information about the environment. Our partnership with CPI ensures that we will be able to scale up as demand in the market for these components grows – as it inevitably will in the next five years."
Professor Chris Bowen, University of Bath, stated: “We will explore a range of piezoelectric materials and composite systems to covert mechanical vibrations and strains into electrical energy for intelligent tyre sensors. The ability to harvest energy from tyres can have significant benefits through reducing weight, reliance on batteries, the environmental impact and maintenance."