I spotted this interesting innovation over at Gizmodo on a new idea for vehicle tires. These haven’t come out yet, but the developers hope these will become invaluable to consumers looking for this sensory solution:
Continental already sells tires packed with monitors that keep tabs on air pressure, automatically letting you know when it gets too low. But the company is planning to expand that technology with improved tire sensors that will actually be able to calculate and report the current load weight of your vehicle so you don’t exceed its suggested capacity.
How does it pull off such a feat without turning your garage into a giant scale? As the weight of a vehicle increases, the tires get smooshed and flatten out, increasing the surface area touching the ground which is known as the contact patch. And by detecting the size of this patch, the sensor’s electronics can then determine if the vehicle has been overloaded, making it dangerous to drive.
The company hasn’t given a specific timeline on when these enhanced tires could be hitting the road. And in order to calculate the weight of the vehicle it would have to be driven a few hundred feet, which makes strategic packing kind of difficult. But, if it also means you don’t destroy your tires or suspension on a long vacation drive, it could be worth the upgrade.