When roads are wet and slick, worn tyres with shallow treads can lose their grip. This has serious effects on braking and steering control—and represents a leading cause of costly accidents. In Germany alone, officials report up to 60,000 accidents a year related to worn tyres, with damage totaling €200 million1 (more than US$285 million).
Today’s informal method of spot-checking tyres for tread wear may let worn treads go untreated. And with the long maintenance intervals typical of modern cars, mechanics may not see tyres often enough to discover potential problems.
Where the rubber meets the road
ProContour has developed a system that uses a digital high-speed camera embedded in the roadway to capture a real-time 3D profile of the tyre surface and calculate tread depth as cars move past at highway speeds.
The ProContour H3-D is based on a commercial off-the-shelf embedded computer, a passively-cooled DIN (Deutche Industrie-Norm) rail PC from Kontron called the Kontron ThinkIO-Duo.
Kontron, a Premier member of Intel Embedded and Communications Alliance, based the design of the Kontron ThinkIO-Duo on the parallel processing power of the 1.2 GHz Intel Core2 Duo processor.
As the car passes overhead, lasers oscillate for 2.4 milliseconds over the tyre’s surface, with data captured by a 16,000 image per second camera. The image data is transferred over Gigabit-Ethernet interfaces to the ThinkIO-Duo for processing. Tread depth updates can then be sent to car owners, or displayed in real time on electronic signs on the highway alerting drivers.
Kontron is represented by Kontron Australia .