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Multiple brands adopting Pirelli Cyber Tyre

Italian duo: Pirelli's Cyber Tyre technology has proved itself in the mighty Ferrari FXX K track-car, but will soon be offered in a high-performance model for the road.

First Pirelli Cyber Tyre-equipped production car nears, follows Ferrari FXX K mule

General News logo11 Apr 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER in ESTORIL, PORTUGAL

PIRELLI has revealed that several car-makers are developing vehicles to integrate the Italian tyre-maker’s road-reading Cyber Tyre technology, and that a road-going production version is soon to follow Ferrari's FXX K track car, which first proved the technology.

The potentially game-changing technology uses an electronic device implanted in the structure of the P Zero tyre and is wirelessly connected to the vehicle’s electronic stability system, providing a clearer picture of vehicle-to-road surface interaction than conventional ESC systems, which rely largely on wheel speed sensors.

In its first generation, the Cyber Tyre was cable of measuring temperature and pressure only, which was useful when applied in commercial vehicle trials, but with more sensitive technology, the next-gen Cyber Tyre is now being applied to high-performance cars for greater dynamics and safety.

Speaking exclusively to GoAuto at the Global P Zero launch in Portugal, Pirelli head of passenger car research and development Alessandro Ascanelli confirmed that the ultra-performance La Ferrari-based FXX K had been the first car to adopt the technology, but in addition to the Italian car-maker “also other brands” were adopting the technology.

“We have homologated and were supplying the Ferrari FXX K. It was using this system connected with the electronics of the vehicle,” he said.

While it is known that at least one European brand is working toward using the Cyber Tyre tech on road, Mr Ascanelli gave GoAuto a hint of the other brands that may be preparing vehicles to use the specialised tyre, “not just the Europeans, to the Americans,” he said.

Mr Ascanelli explained that predicting the arrival of the first road car with the Cyber Tyre was difficult as its partners had their own development schedules, but from a Pirelli perspective, the technology was ready.

Although Pirelli’s head of marketing Matteo Battaini took the opportunity to have a pop at key rival Goodyear’s radical 360 spherical concept tyre adding the Cyber Tyre will arrive “before we see the Goodyear round tyre”.

Before a production car can be finalised, Mr Ascanelli said the integration of the Pirelli technology with the various manufacturer’s systems was a significant challenge that had to be completed.

“Those kind of systems must communicate with the electronics of the vehicle and in order to guarantee the maximum safety, the system has to work absolutely together.

“The job that we are doing now is with different companies and they are using different electronics. In some cases all the electronics is developed in house, in other cases there are third parties. We need to have a standard in order to have the communication.” While today’s most advanced electronic stability systems are effective at boosting vehicle stability and safety, Pirelli says its Cyber Tyre can provide significantly more data than current systems, including tyre temperature, pressure and G-forces at the road-surface level.

With more information to process, a more accurate picture of vehicle stability can be established by the various vehicle computers.

“Our system is, in some cases capable of telling you what is happening in the contact patch when you are driving on the racetrack,” said Mr Ascanelli.

“It’s important because you don’t have to wait, for example, for the ABS or ESC telling you what is happening. You can measure longitudinal forces, lateral forces.

“I think this will be one of the big steps in terms of future tyres. How can I, using the tyre, read what is happening between the car and the road? We can really understand the surface.” The system is so sensitive that it can determine when the road is wet or dry and before wheel traction is lost, providing the maximum traction in all conditions, whether they be circuit or public road applications.

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