Smart tires for self-driving cars

Technology and Business

Alice Salter

Alice Salter



Once, it would have been difficult to imagine a car without a driver. Now, autonomous vehicles are closer than ever, but it’s not just the inner workings of our cars that are changing as we gear up for fully autonomous travel.


Huge changes are being made to infrastructure to accommodate the changing requirements driverless vehicles will bring. In-car communication and infotainment is adapting to suit passengers who will have more free time on the move when released from driving duties. Even unexpected parts of our vehicles are now being made smart: tires., They are being brought up to speed for example for autonomous vehicles with smart sensors, automatic pressure monitoring and predictive maintenance. So, what’s in it for us?


In a nutshell, autonomous tires will reduce overhauls, save time and costs, increase road safety, prevent accidents and breakdowns, and make tires last longer too.



Find out how smart tires make driverless taxis truly autonomous

Self-driving cars are on the rise, but even without a human driver, autonomous vehicles still require regular service, which has to be performed by humans. If autonomous cars were smart enough to automatically maintain themselves, the entire system would become more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable – even as vehicle numbers continue to rise.


Discover more about how autonomous vehicles might change the way we not only travel, but live, in Looking under the hood: Anticipating the knock-on effects of AVs


The public welcomes increasing numbers of autonomous vehicles


Self-repairing driverless cars with smart tires

Smart tire technology already allows real-time tracking of tire status, and efficient, preventative maintenance. A new technology goes one step further: The ‘C.A.R.E’ technology by tire manufacturer Continental enables tires to perform maintenance on themselves. Sensors built into the tread transmit information on tire temperature and inflation pressure, detecting and warning of possible damage. Their rims are fitted with air pumps that can adjust the tire pressure while driving. It’s the perfect technology for autonomous vehicles, such as robotaxis, as it removes the need for human involvement in managing tire safety.


This combination of real-time information and immediate action will reduce repair costs and downtime, with minimal human intervention. A robotaxi concept tire by Continental combines these cutting-edge features with the ideal specifications for urban, autonomous, electric mobility. It also has the ideal profile and contour, the optimal tire size with minimum rolling resistance and a cavity-pattern concept that minimises noise and maximises grip.


Autonomous tires enhance self-driving robotaxis

Sounds futuristic? Sure, but the technology of the future is already becoming a reality. Members of the public have had the opportunity to ride in a robotaxi equipped with intelligent tires at trade fairs like the IAA and CES, and the autonomous vehicle technology behind it is already being used in public transport pilot projects, for example in the US, Japan, China, Singapore, and Germany. Being chauffeured to your destination by an electric car with autonomous technology may still seem like high-tech luxury, but once self-driven public transport becomes widespread on public roads, it will lower the cost of urban mobility – if maintenance costs can be kept to a minimum.


How smart tires make autonomous driving more affordable

The biggest drop in price for driverless taxis would indeed be the elimination of the human driver, which currently accounts for 45% of the operating costs of a ride-hailing vehicle. Self-driving cars enable optimal positioning of vehicles in central locations, allowing small fleets to provide ideal coverage across popular areas. Self-parking capabilities reduce inner-city congestion and minimize environmental impact. Once self-monitoring autonomous tires become the norm, self-driving cars and robotaxis will provide more options for customisation than public transport, at a lower cost than a current ride-sharing app.


The real-world technology for this autonomous mobility already exists. The building blocks simply need to be put together intelligently, safely and efficiently to deliver the next-generation smart taxi – from top to tire.

(Source: Continental Tires)


What do you think? Will smart tires make a big difference to the maintenance of driverless vehicles? Do you think this will be a growth area for driverless tech? Let us know in the comments below.

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