Tire Deformation Monitoring System by Team Dewey

University of Colorado Boulder, 2001 - $13,900

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently proposed federal legislation mandating that within three years from passing all new cars and trucks should have real-time tire pressure monitoring systems installed to increase highway safety. Many companies have anticipated the passing of the proposed legislation by developing relevant technologies that monitor tire pressure. However, tire pressure fluctuates when exposed to variables such as temperature, and may not be the most efficient way to ensure proper tire inflation.

In response to this problem, this E-Team of five undergraduates--four in engineering and one in business--from the University of Colorado, Boulder, developed an alternative device that monitors tire shape to ensure proper inflation. Monitoring tire shape has the added advantage of providing other safety information, such as whether a tire is over-inflated or deformed, information that the pressure gauge system cannot provide. Beyond ensuring greater driver and passenger safety, correct tire inflation can also increase gas mileage by up to ten percent because of reduction in drag. Proper inflation increases the life span of a tire, so consumers are motivated both economically and environmentally to purchase and use this device. Because the system is independent of the tire, it can be transferred to a new set of tires and reused multiple times.