Dashboards will let you know about specific things that you should deal with to run your car smoothly. For instance, when you are low on gas, or when the oil needs to change, and many others like telling the temperature of your car’s engine.
One thing that it doesn’t tell us is when to change the tires, and more significantly, tire punctures, we have to rely on analog feedback for these. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University are doing an excellent job of adding that functionality in our cars. When tires wear out, they lose traction and grip, especially in chilly weather and on rainy days. This poses significant safety to both pedestrians and drivers.
It’s right; newer cars have pressure sensors built in the tires, but what about wear and tear? After a visit to Bridgestone Americas Technical Center in Akron, Ohio, researchers began wondering how they could measure and monitor tire wear. Coming up with a method to make such a measurement would undoubtedly save lives and money.
Ph.D. electrical and computer engineering student Akarsh Prabhakara explained. “Wear measurement today is either done manually with a coin or using full resolution laser scans,” and added, “Neither of these techniques provides an optimum solution to mount on a car and to deal with different kinds of debris that may stick in the tire over time.
It was challenging to design tech for such utilization.” After some experimentation with Bridgestone, the team decided on utilizing radar technology. A radar device is mounted over a tire, on the tire well. Millimeter-wave radar are common in vehicles today. It’s used for collision avoidance, cruise control, and other such features.
Our system repurposes these radars for tire wear and tear estimation.” The technique utilized in this device is the Inverse Synthetic Aperture. This technique benefits from the tire’s rotation to boost the resolution of the radars, enabling them to measure millimetric changes. Also, we embedded in metallic additions that serve as markers. These help the radar get the reflection in low visibility environments, such as dusty or snowy roads.