The University of Portsmouth has won £1.2 million to develop a model which will help prevent breakdowns and accidents in commercial vehicles, saving lives on Britain’s roads.
The model, which will predict the risk of tyre or brake failure, will be rolled out over 24 months by Tructyre Fleet Management, in partnership with the University, Satellite Applications Catapult and RL Automotive.
The project is one of eight to be awarded from the government’s £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund, which is investing in the research and development of the next generation of autonomous vehicles.
Professor of Industrial Systems, David Brown, of the University’s Institute of Industrial Research, said: “Damaged tyres can lead to very serious accidents, especially on large vehicles. This project is all about safety; we want to be able to tell commercial vehicle drivers how far they can go while their tyres are still safe.”
The project will use a cloud-based software model to monitor tyre data, which is linked to satellite communications and intelligent decision-making to provide drivers, fleet managers and tyre service providers with accurate predictions of tyre and mechanical issues.
The driver will be informed of what action needs to be taken depending on the prediction. This could be an instruction to slow down, re-inflate a tyre at the next opportunity or stop as soon as possible.
It will build on an existing prototype product that monitors tyre pressure and temperature.
As well as improving safety, the system will also improve vehicle performance as damaged tyres and brakes waste fuel and increase carbon dioxide emissions.
Professor Brown said: “Tyre failure can cost fleet operators tens of thousands of pounds in repair costs, wasted fuel and fines from late deliveries. Providing real time information to a person to make decisions on whether to continue their journey or stop the vehicle is of critical importance to safety and performance.
“Once this model is up and running, it can provide a platform for other components such as the engine, gearbox and electrics to be analysed, eventually paving the way for full vehicle autonomy.”
While a team from the University develops the data analytics package, Satellite Applications Catapult will work on the real time connectivity and safety advice system, RL Automotive will develop the technology in the new system, and finally, Tructyre will take the product to market.
Find out more about the University’s Institute of Industrial Research – a centre that conducts applied research into the analysis of complex data-sets on a large scale that leads to the discovery of solutions and opportunities of strategic importance to industry and research.