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Are 5G Tyres A New Frontier In Autonomous Driving?

Are 5G Tyres A New Frontier In Autonomous Driving?

Sameer Balaganur
W3Schools

Last year, India’s transport minister Nitin Gadkari said that all new cars and heavy vehicles in India sold by the year 2022 will have ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System). This move was seen as the first step towards using autonomous vehicles in India. These autonomous vehicles come equip features like ADAS, automatic braking, collision avoidance, lane departure warning. Countries like China and the US have already started testing autonomous cars for safety in an environment similar to the real public roads.

A tyre is the only point of contact between the car and the road. Since the tyre experiences everything on the road, it is the only one that can communicate with the driver and with the advent of IoT, the car too. 

Everyone likes surprises in their life, but it can quickly transform into shock when you get one while driving your car. 



Now, noted Italy-based company Pirelli has rolled out its own version of security while driving cars — the 5G enabled tyres, called the Pirelli’s Cyber Tyre. The name is catchy, but, the idea is a better one. Pirelli introduced tyres which could communicate with the car directly not only reporting on normal pressure in the tyre but also on the temperature of the tyre, vertical load, wear and location.

Journey Of The 5G Tyre

Pirelli introduced the tyre last year, and this month, it staged a demonstration during The 5G Path of Vehicle-to-Everything Communication event organised by 5GAA (5G Automotive Association). Pirelli is a member of 5GAA and staged the demonstration with its collaborators Ericsson, Audi, Tim, Italdesign and KTH on the roof of the Lingotto Building, Via Nizza Fiat headquarters in Italy. Pirelli showed how a car fitted with cyber tyres and connected to the 5G network was able to communicate the risk of aquaplaning with another vehicle in the vicinity using 5G’s ultra-high band and low latency.

The Cyber Tyre, equipped with an internal sensor, will deliver information like kilometres clocked, tire model, dynamic load and others mentioned earlier.

The data used to invent this tyre has been gathered from lessons learned with Ferrari’s track-only special FXX K. Pirelli Cyber Tyre, for the first time, will be able to communicate problems like weak water grip on the road, potential dangers on the road ahead and with the help of 5G, it can transmit these problems to the entire roadway infrastructure. This information given to the driver helps in taking further action to avoid any accidents or discomfort while driving and significantly improve the safety of the driver.

Pirelli recently released a video that shows the demonstration the Cyber Tyres. In the video, one can observe how the second car slows down just after the first car has encountered water in the driveway; the second car was informed by the first car about the situation ahead through 5G connectivity.

The information reported by the tyres is delivered to the driver from Pirelli’s IoT cloud-based system called Connnesso via mobile app.

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The Tech Story

Pirelli’s Cyber tyre really is one of the best upgrades a car can have, even with the introduction of electric vehicles. But, from one can’t help but think from a customer’s point of view:

  • The Cost: Pirelli’s Cyber Tyre is technologically advanced, but one thing about an advanced tech is that it is usually expensive. And Pirelli has talked about the cost implications hoping that it will be forgotten when other problems with tyres and safety are taken into account. But, anyone who reads about these cyber tyres is forced to think about the cost implications when the manufacturing company mentions it. Some people argue that some of these features can be dealt with just one’s observations.
  • Availability of 5G: To completely benefit from the services of Cyber Tyre, one has to have 5G connection, which is yet to be introduced and set up in India. If the set up is still incomplete or in the areas where there is no network, the Cyber Tyre’s 5G services that can transmit the road hazard data will be rendered useless.
  • 5G and Cyber Security: When people commonly hear the word Cyber, it immediately triggers words like security and threat. While 5G revolutionises the way we communicate, download, work, stream video, a lot of questions arise about its security concerns. Some publications have deemed 5G, used in Cyber Tyre, as the potential ‘Hacker’s Paradise’.
  • Vulnerabilities through Mobile Applications: Whenever there is a mobile app involved, it becomes a target for hackers. If there is a feature that requires variations to the tyres or other controls, then it can be targeted by these bad actors (hackers). 
  • Failure to keep with the latest updates and security patches: As there are new threats and vulnerabilities discovered, new security patches and updates should be integrated after being deployed into the field.

Potential Uses In India

India is becoming a country which heavily relies on vehicles, primarily cars. This year in September, a report said that India has a shortage of 25 lakh drivers, this means 25 lakh more jobs and 25 lakh cars. If there is a requirement for that many cars in India, then the Cyber Tyre is the viable option here. Ultimately, along with alerting other drivers about the road conditions, Pirelli’s 5G tyre technology could be used to communicate about the manholes, adverse conditions of the roads in real-time, which means it can save a lot of time and hopefully, many lives.

Outlook

Cyber Tyre has yet to be put to practical use for commercial purposes. As we use it more, we might be able to understand what common problems it counters and what new challenges will it pose.

There is no doubt that Pirelli is contributing to car driving safety in its unique way, with the advent of 5G it is trying to widen its communication context involving the ecosystem of road transportation. Pirelli’s Cyber Tyres might find their services more in the world of autonomous driving where there is no human being and having a better sense of the car’s condition and tyres become imperative. Pirelli is actively contributing to the development of future mobility and systems of autonomous driving.

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