Infineon Brings Safety into Car Tires
Fuel consumption reduced by up to five per cent
By using a tire pressure monitor system, drivers can improve their safety and riding comfort. This eliminates the need to check the air pressure at a gas station, since critical changes will automatically issue a warning message on the display. Proper tire pressure will optimize the rolling resistance, lower the fuel consumption, and reduce tire wear. According to German TÜV-Nord institute, half a bar of missing pressure will increase the fuel consumption by five per cent. However, insufficient tire pressure also affects the cars roadability. Steering becomes more difficult, and the stopping distance becomes longer. Due to the increased rolling resistance with poor tire pressure, the tires will also be exposed to more flexing and heat up faster until they are no longer able to withstand the stress and burst. Truck tires can even catch fire.
It is planned to use the information delivered by the sensors not only to display a warning, but also to feed them into the controllers of other safety systems such as ESP or ABS. In the USA, tire pressure monitoring system will be required by law from November of this year: By end of 2006, every new U.S. car must be equipped with such a system.
In addition to the sensors, the monitoring system comprises a microcontroller for each tire, which processes the data, and a transmitter, which sends the information to the controller in the engine compartment over an RF (Radio Frequency) link. Infineon plans to integrate these discrete components into a single unit and launch it in two to three years time. Even systems that operate without a battery should be feasible at the end of decade. Currently, tire pressure monitor systems are commercially available as retrofit versions for 200 to 400 Euro. An increasing number of manufacturers offer their cars factory-equipped with such systems, even in the medium-range segment.
Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for the automotive and industrial sectors, for applications in the wired communications markets, secure mobile solutions as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In fiscal year 2002 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 5.21 billion with about 30,400 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at http://www.infineon.com.