Tires featuring Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips have been in use for years now. Michelin has used the technology to collect MotoGP ride data and to track shipping trucks and Pirelli’s 5G smart tires communicate with nearby systems to relay road hazards. Despite all the advancements, the technology hasn’t been available to the public until now. Last year, Continental introduced the EcoContact 6 and the RFID-equipped tires will outfit Volvo cars in 2021.
Tire manufacturers maintain that the tire chips will ensure the product’s quality before and during use. Once the tire’s lifespan is met, the technology will also help with safe and responsible disposal. Primarily a data tool, RFID units allow users to easily locate the make, model, and serial number of a given tire. Wear and lifespan information is also attainable.
The chip weighs less than one gram and connects directly to an antenna that emits the radio frequency. Aside from the RFID ISO logo on the side of each tire, the technology won’t be visible. To obtain the tire’s information, a user will need to place the necessary reader within 15 centimeters of the RFID communicator.
Now that Continental is supplying RFID tires to manufacturers, hopefully, motorcycle implementation is just around the corner too. Tire pressure, integrity, and tread are paramount for the rider’s wellbeing and motorcyclists could benefit from safety alerts. Whether it’s track data or air pressure warnings, the information gathered by the RFID unit will be invaluable for those on two wheels.
Continental isn’t the only player in this field, though. The 5G smart tires from Pirelli and Michelin’s motorsports and industrial projects can also drive connected tire development. Luckily, RFID chips are inexpensive and easy to manufacture. For that reason, funding shouldn’t be an obstacle to production or adoption.