UK manufacturer, Silent Sensors has announced plans to collaborate with the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Bath University to develop a key component for the future of so-called 'Intelligent Tyres', using piezoelectric energy harvesting. This component will be part of the innovative Silent Sensors Tyre Management System (TMS) for vehicles.
Silent Sensors – which specialises in tracking and sensor technology for Intelligent Tyres – will develop energy harvesting and sensing technology to optimise tyre performance via the new TMS.
Data from the tyre sensors will reportedly be used at the edge of the internet of things (IoT) network to give vehicles the reflexes needed to stay safe and efficient; the data will also be fed into the cloud for analytics and transactional requirements, such as carbon trading or paying by the kilometre.
CEO of Silent Sensors, Marcus Taylor explained: “Our goal is to deliver the Intelligent Tyre in the next two years, and the piezoelectric materials that Bath University has developed show great promise.
“Within our TMS tyre sensors we have energy harvesting and storage, micro-controllers, short range radio and sensor arrays that will enable future autonomous vehicles to use their tyres to detect information about the environment. Our partnership with CPI ensures that we will be able to scale up as demand in the market for these components grows – as it inevitably will in the next five years.”
The technology – which is being funded by InnovateUK – aims to enable the production of TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems) sensors that can extract energy from the tyre. These new sensors represent a vital step towards the development of tyres with fully integrated traceability and sensing features. Such intelligent tyres will enhance vehicle safety, as well as reducing carbon emissions and fuel costs.
Regulations within the automotive industry have tightened and there is a higher number of light and heavy-duty vehicles on the roads today than ever before. Consequently, there is an increasing demand for fleet operators to monitor and reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of their vehicles. Suboptimal tyre inflation negatively affects road vehicle safety, fuel consumption and carbon emissions, but regular manual tyre checks are time consuming and expensive.
Operators are increasingly looking for advanced tyres with TMS technology that provides accurate, real-time data on tyre condition. Over the next five years, the UK Tyre Pressure Monitoring System market (TPMS) is set to grow from £28m to £56m, and the result of the collaboration between CPI, Silent Sensors and Bath University aims to meet this growing demand.
The collaboration depends on Silent Sensors being able to use CPI’s worldclass manufacturing facilities at the National Printable Electronics Centre, for the scale up and commercialisation of innovative printed electronic products. The project will involve the creation of power management and sensing devices, as well as a printed kinetic harvesting element – to be co-developed by Silent Sensors, Bath University and CPI. The practical work includes fabrication and testing to understand the power that can be harvested, the operating temperature window and the lifetime of the EH/S transducer.