Bridgestone Corp., the world’s largest tire and rubber manufacturer and a company with roots more than a century old, is participating in CES 2020, its first-ever Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas in January.
That’s a sign electrification, Internet connectivity, and autonomy are rewriting the rules for tires and associated components, too, along with nearly every other part of modern cars and trucks. CES 2020 runs Jan. 7 through Jan. 10. Media previews begin Jan. 5.
Over the last few years, CES has become a “must” for auto manufacturers and their suppliers — at a time when some car companies have started scaling back on some auto shows or dropping out entirely.
“The CES event gives us a great opportunity to really showcase some of these solutions to improve safety, improve uptime and maintain efficiency, to make mobility more seamless,” said TJ Higgins, vice president and senior officer, global Chief Strategic Officer, Bridgestone.
Bridgestone will show off its tires made for a proposed Lunar Rover Concept, at the upcoming CES … [+]
Headquarters for Bridgestone Americas is in Nashville, Tenn. Parent Bridgestone Corp. is based in Tokyo.
Bridgestone announced plans to show off products and services at CES that include what the company calls airless tires, as opposed to traditional, pneumatic tires that need to be inflated; plus smart tires that use sensors to detect slippery roads, along with many other functions; plus fleet solutions that share data and more across entire fleets of cars and trucks.
Airless tires eliminate the danger and downtime of flat tires, the company said. In addition to airless tires intended for earthbound use, at CES Bridgestone also will showcase an airless tire and wheel solution for a lunar rover being developed for an international space mission.
An air-free tire concept Bridgestone will show at CES 2020, the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show … [+]
Tires themselves provide the most direct possible feedback, Higgins said. “The performance of the vehicle, whether the tires are inflated properly, whether there’s enough tread, whether it’s connecting to the road, if friction is too low — the stopping distance changes. Cornering changes. That’s all very important information from the vehicle,” he said.
High-tech solutions from other suppliers use more indirect methods to detect slippery roads and other functions, using sensors connected to other automotive systems. For instance, if a vehicle goes in a different direction than the direction the steering wheel is pointed, the data implies the road must be slippery.
Tire-mounted sensors are mounted on the inner liner, in the center of the tire, to sense the acceleration, temperature and strain that the tire sees during its operation. Those inputs are communicated to a central control unit in the vehicle. The system is also proactive, for instance anticipating future wear and tear based on present use.
“The tire is the only thing that touches the road,” Higgins said.