When people hear about the Internet of Things, they mostly imagine smart homes and smart appliances talking silently with one another. Car makers, however, are just as excited about IoT, especially when factoring in high-speed 5G networks. These two technologies, after all, enable cars and car parts to connect to the Internet and send data to the company and to other cars as well. That is exactly what Italian tire (or tyre) maker Pirelli is trying to achieve with a 5G-connected sensing Cyber Tire that can communicate not only with the driver but also with other cars nearby as well.
Cars these days are already equipped with a multitude of sensors and sometimes even cameras. These are often used for “seeing” the world around it as part of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS. Some even use those sensors for different levels of autonomous driving.
Tires, however, are the only part of the car that comes in contact with the road. It is, therefore, in the perfect position to know road conditions up-close and relay that information back to the car and, in the end, to the driver. That makes the tire smart but also selfish.
In car makers’ ideal future, cars aren’t just smart. They’re also talkative. They are able to communicate with a variety of systems, from traffic control to other cars, faster than any human-based system can. That, of course, is only possible with the pervasive and nearly instant networks promised by 5G.
That is, of course, still in the future. Pirelli’s Cyber Tires will, by then, be able to warn nearby cars and their drivers about potentially dangerous road conditions, hopefully before accidents happen. Going further into the future, these smart and connected tires will be able to help fully autonomous car systems make decisions based on road quality, further removing the need for human drivers to make potentially dangerous decisions despite what the sensors clearly tell them.