Pirelli connects your tires to the IoT network so you can hear them talk

Pirelli Connesso/Cyber Car
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends

Last year, Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli introduced a high-tech, cloud-connected tire named Connesso. It called the tire a new type of technology, one which establishes a dialog between the driver, the tires, and the car. Beta testers put thousands of miles on the first two Connesso applications in a wide variety of driving conditions. Called Cyber Car, the next evolution of the technology is ready for prime time. It’s coming to your dashboard sooner than you might think.

The list of objects connected to the internet of things (IoT) network seemingly never ends. We have connected fridges, connected microwaves, connected gas pumps, and now connected tires. Seriously? What’s the point? Jennifer Tonin, Pirelli Digital’s commercial director, told Digital Trends embedding sensors in tires makes driving safer and more convenient. It can also, in some circumstances, help alleviate the range anxiety sometimes associated with electric cars by monitoring vertical load, a term which means the weight placed on an individual tire.

Think of Cyber Car as a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) with a degree from an Ivy League school.

The Cyber Car consists of a tiny, ultra-light sensor integrated into each tire liner. Think of it as a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) with a degree from an Ivy League school. These sensors monitor a long list of data points and send the information they gather to the cloud, which in turn beams it back to a control unit mounted inside the windshield. It’s like a transponder for toll booths but smaller and more discreet. Cyber Car allows the driver to check the tire pressure, the tread wear, and the tire temperature, among other parameters, even on-the-go.

No, your tires aren’t at risk of contracting a fever. Most motorists never think about their tires’ temperature, let alone worry about it, but it’s important in high-performance cars, especially the ones that regularly see action on a track. The tire pressure tool is appreciably more useful in real-world applications, however. Stop us if this sounds familiar: the average driver neglects to check tire pressures until one simply looks low. By that point, odds are it’s really low. To facilitate maintenance, Pirelli’s Cyber Car technology provides the correct tire pressure and displays a digital gauge.

Cyber Car sends visual and audible alerts when it detects something is wrong. When a tire gets too worn, for example, or if its pressure falls below a certain threshold. The driver can accept the notification and, hopefully, make a mental note of it. Motorists can also use the system to make an appointment with a Pirelli-authorized retailer to fix the problem.

Intuitive to use, Pirelli’s Connesso app uses numbers, colors, and an easy-to-read gauge to display basic information.

Right now, the information gathered by Pirelli’s smart tires gets displayed on a purpose-designed smartphone application named Connesso. We got a brief demonstration of it on the side-lines of this year’s Geneva Auto Show and found it’s intuitive to use. We like its simple layout; it’s not an overload of complicated jargon that doesn’t make sense unless you’re a mechanic or a tire geek. The app uses numbers, colors, and an easy-to-read gauge to display basic information. It responds quickly to input.

Tonin told Digital Trends Pirelli is working with a major auto-maker to bring its Cyber Car technology to production by the end of the year, but she wouldn’t tell us which one. We’ll have to wait to learn more.

Pirelli Connesso/Cyber Car
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends

When it arrives, the app will be loaded directly into the car’s touch screen. If we had to guess, we’d speculate the model that will usher in the technology will be a high-end one with a correspondingly high price tag. Something along the lines of a Lamborghini Aventador S, for example. That’s where tech normally takes root in the automotive industry: up high. Recent innovations like adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and the rear-view camera started that way, too. They all seeped down into nearly every segment of the market; the federal government even made the rear-view camera mandatory.

There will only be one type of car that comes straight from the factory with Pirelli’s connected tire in 2018. Our crystal ball says check back in 2028 and you’ll be surprised at how many models come with it – or something similar.

Product Review

4K and 144Hz? Yup, the Acer Predator XB3 will max out your gaming PC

The Predator XB3 isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you have a system that can push over 100 frames per second in 4K screen resolution, this monster of a monitor might be the perfect match for your overpowered gaming rig.

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.