Continental is introducing two new tire concepts designed to provide a safe and comfortable driving experience in the future. The two technologies, ContiSense and ContiAdapt, are designed to continuously monitor a tire’s condition and offer situation-matched adaptation of tire performance characteristics to prevailing road conditions.
ContiSense is based on the development of electronic conductive rubber compounds that enable electric signals to be sent from a sensor in the tire to a receiver in the car. Continuously monitoring both tread depth and temperature, the rubber-based sensors indicate if the measured value is above or below the predefined limit and triggers the system to immediately alert the driver. If anything penetrates the tread, a circuit in the tire is closed, triggering an immediate warning for the driver before the tire pressure starts to drop.
In the future, the ContiSense system will feature additional sensors that can also be utilised individually, thus information about the road surface, such as its temperature or the terrain can be sensed by the tire and passed on to the driver. The data will be transmitted directly to the vehicle or to a smartphone via bluetooth.
ContiAdapt combines micro-compressors integrated into the wheel to adjust the tire pressure with a variable-width rim. The system can thus modify the size of the contact patch, which is a decisive factor under different road conditions for both safety and comfort. ContiAdapt allows perfect adaption to four different conditions: wet, uneven surface, slippery and normal conditions. For example, a smaller contact patch combined with high tire pressure makes for low rolling resistance, generating energy-efficient driving on smooth, dry roads. By contrast, the combination of a larger contact patch with lower tire pressure delivers ideal grip on slippery roads. The system also permits very low tire pressures of below one bar (14.5psi) to be set, which help ease driving on sandy offroad tracks and while dune bashing.
Continental has also joined both the ContiSense and ContiAdapt technologies in one concept tire that enables the benefits of both systems to be fully leveraged.
Presented in the Middle East in December 2017, the ContiAdapt tire concept took centerstage at Continental’s Contivention event that was held in Dubai and saw the launch of the Generation 6 – the company’s first tire range developed specifically for the Middle East. José Luis de La Fuente, Continental Middle East’s managing director, said, "It was great to see the high interest in the new tire concept from our partners and key media in the region and we don’t see a long period of time for when such concepts become reality. We have always been committed to presenting new automotive technologies that provide our customers with a safer and more enhanced driving experience."
Continental considers both these tire technology concepts to be promising solutions for mobility of the future, as tires are adapted to meet the needs of automated driving and EV systems. Low rolling resistance, for example, makes it possible for electric cars to cover greater distances on a single charge. At the same time, the tires can be adapted to suit the driver’s personal preferences or in response to sudden changes in the weather.
These new tire concepts form the next steps in the future-oriented development of the REDI sensor, which was first launched by Continental in 2014 and instrumental in establishing smart communication between vehicles and tires. The new tire technology concepts follow on from the two established mobility technologies ContiSeal, for the automatic sealing of punctures, and ContiSilent, for an audible reduction in tire/road noise. Bringing over a century of experience in tire technology and in-house expertise in the fields of vehicle electronics and automotive IT, Continental is systematically aligning its products with the future requirements of autonomous driving and electric mobility.