Sumitomo smart sensor reduces the risk of loose wheel accidents

Sumitomo smart sensor reduces the risk of loose wheel accidents

Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI), maker of Falken tires, has expanded its Sensing Core smart tire technology with a new feature designed to prevent wheel detachment incidents, which is set to debut on production vehicles this year. The sensorless system is designed to address various safety concerns such as tire pressure, wear, load distribution and road hazards.

Incidents of loose wheels, which are particularly common during winter tire changes and can be dangerous, prompted SRI to develop the wheel disconnect function. When car and truck drivers switch to winter tires, the wheel lug nuts may not be tightened enough. While many commercial vehicle operators use mechanical clamps on the lug nuts as a visual check, they are not 100% reliable and rely on the driver’s diligence to inspect each one before each trip.

With such incidents receiving prominent media attention in recent years, including in Japan where SRI is headquartered, the Japanese government has expressed a desire to reduce loose wheel incidents. SRI says that in 2024, OEM customers will integrate this feature into their vehicles as standard equipment, with discussions ongoing with other manufacturers.

Operating independently of tire type, model or size, the wheel disconnect function analyzes wheel speed signals and data from the Vehicle Control Area Network (CAN) to detect loose wheel nuts, down to 1mm.

The Sensing Core has evolved from SRI’s Deflation Warning System (DWS) and is designed, the company says, to serve as “the hub of edge services that SRI is developing to meet the future challenges of CASE vehicles and Mobility as a Service (MaaS)” under the Smart Tire Concept Initiative – It is an effort by SRI to develop various technologies needed for the tires of the future.

“We envision that Sensing Core will make a significant contribution to the evolution and further development of mobility in the coming autonomous driving society,” said Dr. Bernd Lowenhaupt, Managing Director of Sumitomo Rubber Europe.

“We will not only use the data obtained by the Sensing Core, including road condition data, to control vehicles, but also continue technological development with an eye on the future integration of the data with societal information via cloud services.”

Future applications of the system include cloud-based tire wear monitoring, where usage data allows tire wear to be predicted and alerts to drivers or fleet managers for timely replacement.

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