Why Is The Traction Summit Important For The Tire industry?

Dr. Aaron Franklin, Chief Technology Officer at Tyrata, Inc., shares what industry challenges this year's Traction Summit will address

Why is this meeting important to the Tire industry?

We live in an era of seemingly ubiquitous technology integration, improving health, safety, and security in all aspects of our lives; yet, some surprising exceptions remain. While your refrigerator can now alert you when you are low on milk, there are more critical aspects of daily life that have yet to fully benefit from advanced monitoring, including vehicle tires. Tires are the only part of a vehicle that touches the road and they are the most significant for safety; yet, there is only a single data point of information obtained (pressure) to monitor tire health. We believe that the Traction Summit will be an ideal place to discuss and understand the future opportunities for tires and to make the connections with industry leaders to realize them.

What do you hope to see achieved over the next few years with regard to tire technology?

Tyrata is in the process of commercializing our tire tread depth sensor technology. Our focus over the next few years is on product development, sensor evaluation, system testing and scale-up for high-volume manufacturing.

Your talk is titled “The Impact of Intelligent Tread Wear Sensor Technology on the Automotive Industry,” why do you feel this topic is important? What do you hope the audience will take from it?

The only part of an automobile that actually touches the outside world are the tires, and yet we know so little about them. Every year, in the US alone, tire-related accidents claim the lives of hundreds and injure thousands. While integrated tire pressure sensors have provided some improvements in safety, the industry is in desperate need of a mechanism for monitoring the thickness of a tire's tread, in real time. Tyrata is commercializing a tire tread depth sensor, using a simple, printed carbon nanotube device, that is capable of measuring the tread thickness from within a tire (without being integrated into, or otherwise disrupting the tire itself). Further, this technology opens the way for data analytics on tire wear based on vehicle, geography, and other conditions, which would transform the efficiency of tire design and use across the industry. We hope the audience will have a better understanding that future technologies can not only improved safety, but enhanced efficiency of tire use.

What opportunities do autonomous vehicles present for the tire industry?

As progress towards autonomous vehicles continues, so does the need for ensuring these vehicles are safely monitored without human intervention. There are consequences related to safety, efficiency, and profit if there is insufficient monitoring of an autonomous vehicle’s tire tread depth. Hence, there is a burgeoning need for tire tread depth sensors in order to enable the autonomous vehicle revolution.  


6. What are some of the industry challenges that this year’s conference will address? 

It's difficult for us to say since this is the first time Tyrata will be attending.  However, in addition to the challenges and opportunities listed above, the greatest challenges to address are increasing safety, improving vehicle performance, reducing fuel consumption, improving supply chain efficiency and reducing environmental waste.