A modern vehicles’ ECU and sensors, can monitor and alert you to concerns or problems with the vehicle, engine, or other components. Pirelli has a solution to gather a wide array of information from your vehicles’ tires as well, in a sort of ‘smart-tire’.
The idea is called Pirelli Connesso and it will be available for the Pirelli P Zero and Pirelli Winter Sottozero tires starting this summer.
The sensors in each tire connect to your phone via Bluetooth. They only weigh a few grams so as not to affect the tires’ performance or reduce its speed rating. Pirelli says that it will also last the entire life of the tire.
The Connesso system allows you to monitor your tires’ temperature, pressure, wear and tread depth, static load and the distance each tire has covered, through the accompanying app. The information is instantly transmitted to the app and even allows you to use your phone as a pressure gauge when you top up the air in your tires. With such instant readings the app could prove incredibly useful on a track day, allowing you to make sure you don’t overheat a tire, or keep pressures at a reasonable level as heat increases.
In addition to alerting the driver if the pressure becomes too low, the app will also make suggestions about how long a tire might last and whether it is suitable for the weather conditions. Once it is getting close to the end of its life the Connesso app will allow you to order a replacement directly through the interface and organize the time and location for the fitting.
Pirelli’s intelligent Connesso system is set to grow and is likely to be integrated with OEM systems very soon. Once tied to a car’s brain, the information the new tires will offer won’t just be used to alert the driver, but it could inform traction and stability control systems with instant data on the tires’ grip, slip angle and whether it’s hydroplaning or not. Pirelli already supplies tires with these abilities to auto manufacturers in order to assist them in developing tires for their cars and also to help inform them when fine-tuning a car’s chassis and drivetrain.
Pirelli’s Connesso system might not be fully integrated with cars quite yet, but tires that will communicate with the app will be ready to be fitted by summer this year.
Pirelli has also unveiled another new innovation, though this one won’t be quite as useful when understanding your tires or on a track day. You can now choose to have the sidewall of your P Zero tires embellished with a colored stripe. Four standard colors (red, yellow, white and silver) are available and these can be chosen without any added waiting time over standard tires. However, you can also choose any color from the Pantone range – over 3000 different shades – if you don’t mind waiting a couple of weeks.
Rather than looking like an old white-wall tire, the colored stripe on the sidewall is inspired by the design found on Pirelli’s F1 tires. The colors, however, don’t denote the compound or performance, like stripes on the race tires do; all of the colors are available on any tire and serve no function other than decoration.
The stability of the sidewall colors is its own breakthrough, Pirelli says, and the company says its engineers have used the experience gained in Formula 1, where colored tires have been a reality since 2011, to refine an innovative labeling system. In particular, a new material has been created that acts as a protective barrier to maintain the brilliance of the color and avoid fading caused by time and use, without affecting performance.
Pricing hasn’t yet been announced for the colored edition tires or the Connesso tires, but these are high-end products for high-end cars, so expect that they will be pricey.