Telematics in Vehicle Wheels

Apart from traditional tracking software, telematics has grown into an advanced On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) based solution which gives driving details and vehicle data. Wheels including tires are one of the major areas witnessing development in telematics. Sensors attached to wheels can monitor individual wheel loads. It can also detect shifts in the distribution of weight on the vehicle. It helps fleet managers and drivers to adjust the suspension and braking in each wheel to make sure that the vehicle stops efficiently. ConMet, a manufacturer of commercial vehicle parts, has launched SmartHub an intelligent wheel end which consists of embedded sensors which can transmit data including hub temperature, speed, lubricant level, hub vibration, miles travelled, spindle nut torque readings, hub load, and bolt tensions.

Many tire manufacturers across the world are investing in telematics. Apollo Tyres, a major tire manufacturer in India, planned to acquire nearly 40% stake in KT Telematics Solutions, a start-up in telematics analytics, in February 2018. Tire manufacturers are developing sensors which can monitor tire conditions such tire temperature and tire pressure.

Michelin, another major tire manufacturer acquired NexTraq, a fleet tracking company, for increasing their growth in telematics. Pirelli’s Cyber Fleet System, which uses a telematic box made by Magneti Marelli, helps fleet managers to monitor the conditions of the tires. Pirelli also uses a cloud platform, Pirelli Cloud, which analyses tire and provides predictions about fuel consumption, and vehicle efficiency. In October 2018, Bridgestone launched predictive tire and vehicle maintenance solution which uses an embedded telematic dongle to monitor battery and engines oil apart from tires.

Conclusion

Sensors such as Tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) are being adopted by commercial vehicles and fleet managers. Usually all tire monitoring sensors attach to the inner liner of the tire through which it can accurately communicate tire air pressure and temperature electronically. Companies such as Continental are working on sensors which will measure the tread depth accurately and inform the drivers for tire change. As the tire industry will witness more changes in the tires manufactured such as airless tires, tire telematics is also expected to change based on the requirements. For instance, airless tires have more heating issues compared with radial tires. So, heat measurement using telematics would gain more importance. The future of tire telematics is bright, and the trend could become relevant in all ranges of vehicles from lightweight vehicles to commercial heavy weight vehicles.

– Arjun Das,
Senior Research Analyst -ICT,
Infoholic Research