Canadian firm SmarTire has developed a tyre monitoring system which displays tyre pressure on a car’s dashboard, eliminating the need to unscrew valve caps and fiddle about with pressure guages.
The wireless system has been designed for use on practically any vehicle. It consists of sensors mounted on the wheels inside the tyres and a display receiver installed near the driver.
The display module shows pressure status, temperature and required pressure, and the driver can toggle between different tyres using two buttons.
When the vehicle moves off, a centrifugal switch activates the sensors. They return to sleep mode when the vehicle stops to conserve their lithium batteries’ power.
Audi has developed a similar technology for the A8 and S8. Its system works both when the car is in motion and at rest. Information is displayed in two levels: the first shows pressure drops of more than 0.2 bar, while the second shows drops of 0.4 bar or rapid depressurisation.
Audi’s system alerts the driver to the particular tyre affected and conserves energy by monitoring pressure every three seconds but only transmitting every 54 seconds, unless serious depressurisation occurs.
Both systems should improve tyre performance, as low tyre pressure increases rolling resistance, fuel consumption and wear.