PPS solved the problem by developing a tire-tread measurement system that uses nearly 2,000 sensing elements and parallel processing to achieve an update rate of 220 Hz. This configuration retained the resolution of the traditional tire-tread sensors while adding the necessary speed to capture information about tire-tread behavior in bumpy, rapidly changing conditions.
Tire inflation measurement
As the brake pad and tire-tread projects illustrate, capacitive tactile sensing is well suited for applications in automotive research and development. However, the technology also has the potential to directly impact the automotive industry’s consumers, specifically by making it easier to know when tires are over- or under-inflated.
Tactile pressure sensors could be implemented in a garage or safety inspection station for this purpose. A car could roll over the sensors, which could reveal, via the pressure distribution, whether the tires are properly inflated. An over-inflated tire would exert more pressure on the sensors from the middle, while an under-inflated tire would exert more pressure from the outside edges.
These sensors could also be used to verify alignment. If, for example, the alignment is off, one side will be compressing more than the other. Rather than guessing or trusting that the tires are properly aligned and inflated -- which, according to the US Department of Energy, is an important way to maintain good fuel economy -- tactile sensors could actually image the contact between the tread and the road, ensuring that the pressure is evenly distributed to achieve optimal grip.
All three examples show that, when the rubber meets the road in the automotive industry, capacitive tactile pressure sensing technology can be a significant advantage.