U.S. markets closed

Microsoft and Bridgestone launch real-time tire damage system

Rachel England
Contributing Writer
HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 19: Bridgestone tyre detail is seen following qualifying for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 19, 2008 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)

As vehicle diagnostics and real-time safety advisories get smarter, there’s not much your car (assuming it’s a newer model, of course) can’t tell you about what’s going on under the hood. Until now, however, there has been one element of vehicle maintenance that’s flown under the digital radar: tire damage. While there are systems in place to monitor tire pressure — and regular servicing can guard against wear and fatigue — tire damage can’t usually be detected without close, manual inspection. Now Microsoft and tire-manufacturer Bridgestone have come up with a solution.

The partnership’s tire damage monitoring system (TDMS) links to Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP) to identify tire damage in real-time, and uses algorithms to detect events that affect the tire’s surface. The system uses MCVP’s cloud framework and sensor data from existing hardware that’s already installed, so it’ll work without any extra kit or necessary retrofitting.

As well as detecting damage as it happens, the system also identifies where the damage has happened, which gives road authorities the heads up on potholes and other hazards. And in the future, it could be a useful addition to autonomous vehicle technology, allowing vehicles to share information about nearby road hazards. This kind of hazard-alert system has been floated before — Jaguar Land Rover hypothesized a similar initiative a while back — but Bridgestone and Microsoft’s endeavor marks the first roll-out of its kind.

According to Bridgestone, tire damage contributes to 30 percent of all car accidents caused by technical failure, so the TDMS could have a significant impact on road safety. Indeed, a study published by Consumer Reports just this week confirms that road deaths could be cut by as much as half if more safety technology was made standard.