Each year when IAA 2017 kicks off over in Germany we all expect to see lots of new concept cars that hint at what cars of the future will be like. What you might not expect to see are concept tires like Continental has unveiled at the show. The two concept technologies include the ContiSense and the ContiAdapt and both are very different technologies though both aim to make tires safer and more comfortable in the future.
ContiSense uses an electronically conductive rubber compound that allows electric signal to be sent from a sensor in the tire to a receiver in the car. That sensor is able to measure tread depth and temperature and if the temp or tread depth is above or below set values, the driver gets an alert. The sensor is also able to tell the driver immediately if something has penetrated the tire. You may have a nail in your tire that leaks so slowly you don’t know it’s there until the tire is flat the next day with TPMS in cars today.
The tech can also “feel” if there is snow on the ground and pass that information onto the driver. If this system can detect things like black ice that are hard to see, it could be a big boost to safety. Data from this sensor can be sent to a smartphone via Bluetooth. ContiAdapt is a cooler, and seemingly more farfetched technology. ContiAdapt is able to use microprocessors in the wheel to adjust tire pressure with a variable width rim.
The tech is able to change the size of the contact patch of the time to match road conditions providing more safety and more comfort. Continental sees the tech being ideal for increasing pressure and reduce contact patch for lower resistance when driving long distances to save fuel. It would also reduce tire pressures for better traction and increase contact patch to get the car out of snow or lor traction conditions.
Continental is showing a single tire that use both of these technologies. There is no indication of if this time might ever go into production. It holds like it would make for a very expensive wheel and tire combination, but no pricing details are offered.