TYRE company Bridgestone is collaborating with Microsoft to develop a world-first monitoring system for detecting tyre damage issues in real-time.
Such issues are said to contribute to some 30 per cent of all car accidents caused by technical failure.
Tyre issues take four main forms: inadequate pressure, fatigue, irregular wear, and damage from curbs, potholes or items on the road.
Most of these issues can already be reliably mitigated against with tyre pressure monitoring systems being mandatory in all cars built since 2012 while regular service and replacing tyres in time guards against wear and fatigue.
The safety gap has been tyre damage - which often cannot be detected without close, manual inspection, and which can potentially occur at any time.
Damaged tyres can lead to accidents. They can also adversely affect other vehicle components, such as causing damage to the wheels.
Bridgestone has now closed that gap with its Tyre Damage Monitoring System which will deliver real-time awareness of damage.
It uses the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform cloud framework together with existing sensor data, from hardware that is already installed, and uses algorithms to detect events affecting the tyre surface and carcass.
The driver can then be immediately notified of the hazard and act accordingly to remedy the situation. There is currently no other equivalent monitoring system available in the market. Alternatives would require extra hardware to be installed.
Bridgestone says the tyre damage monitoring system has other applications as it not only understands when damage has occurred but also where.
Such information allows broader insight into road conditions and infrastructure, which can be used to alert agencies responsible for road damage issues to the presence and location of potholes and other hazards.
Future autonomous vehicles could also be beneficiaries of the system - as vehicles pass information about local hazards to others in the vicinity, as well as cloud data stores.
The new Tyre Damage Monitoring System is available to all vehicle fleets and car suppliers that use MCVP.
Laurent Dartoux, chief executive and president of Bridgestone in the European area, said: "Digital is such a huge part of what we do today at Bridgestone; it's imperative that we work with industry-leading partners who can support our needs today and in the future. By teaming up with Microsoft we have the opportunity to bring our Tyre Damage Monitoring System to millions of drivers, offering them better safety and peace of mind."