The actions of autonomous vehicles are based on a steady stream of camera, radar and LiDAR data. And now tires are contributing additional insights into the mix.
Gatik, known in Canada for its autonomous box trucks being tested by Loblaw, is now incorporating Goodyear Endurance RSA tires with Goodyear SightLine technology to better guide its growing fleet.
Standard Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors embedded in the tires monitor factors such as cornering and brake stiffness, rolling resistance, and tire loads.
“These new-generation TPMS [tire pressure monitoring systems] are mounted on the tire,” explains Kanwar Bharat Singh, Goodyear program manager – tire intelligence algorithms. A micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) accelerometer inside the sensor estimates road conditions, and calculates the load on the tire.
Monitoring vibrations, weather and more
“We combine these high-frequency accelerations we get — the vibrations — but we also work with Gatik [to] pull in a lot of other information like the wheel speeds, the wheel slip,” he says, referring to the way data is combined.
“We also have a third-party weather integration, where we pull in data from a weather provider. So it’s actually a fusion of tire data, vehicle sensor data, and weather data.”
Tire loads are measured in real time, while data is also used to calculate the remaining tread. The latter factor is important because of the role it plays in friction values.
A focus on cornering stiffness helps the trucks keep their position in a lane.
The weather-related data from Vaisala focuses on a 500-meter area around the truck. And the next generation of equipment will use camera-based sensors to further monitor road conditions.
Gatik isn’t the only company looking to add the tire-related data into autonomous vehicle systems.
“We’ve got a couple other advanced pilots, technical pilots, with OEMs as well – both in North America and Europe,” Singh says.
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