- Project: tires with built-in sensors
- Duration: 24 months, ongoing
- Technologies: hardware, firmware, PCB Design, BLE, iOS
- Target audience: automotive industry, tire manufacturers, car drivers
Tire Stickers has been innovating branding solutions for the automotive community since 2007. The company’s revolutionary products and partnerships with tire companies and motorsports teams have transformed tire branding on the motor-racing and consumer markets.
Tire Stickers noticed a growing demand for smart tires — the ones that could provide drivers with more information than ubiquitous tire pressure. To meet the need, Tire Stickers came up with a groundbreaking IoT product: tire-mounted sensors hooked to a mobile app. This new IoT product would challenge traditional tire pressure managing systems (TPMS) by offering advanced tire analytics.
Velvetech was chosen as an IoT development company to design and develop the hardware, firmware, and software components of the world’s first intelligent tire solution — Cerebrum.
With plenty of experience in IoT product development, e.g., a cold chain monitoring system or a workforce safety tool, Velvetech knew that the key to success was the right balance between hardware and software pieces of the product.
On top of that, designing hardware that would stand all the load generated by a spinning wheel seemed to be poised on the edge of the possible. Thus, requiring a sophisticated approach.
Another issue to tackle was implementing such wireless technologies that would support data transfer despite the shielding provided by the metal car body.
Tire Stickers came to Velvetech with a rough mockup for an iPhone app and trusted the Velvetech IoT product development team to guide the whole process — select and design the unique solution from hardware to software:
- Sensors, microcontrollers, antennas, and other hardware
- Mobile apps
- Web application & backend
The development of these hardware and software bits generates an exceptional IoT system that ensures monitoring and balancing tire efficiency and durability.
Hardware is the core of any IoT project since it collects and transfers all the data, and so selecting the right chips is nearly half the battle.
The IoT product development team was responsible for preparing the specifications for hardware manufacturers and helping Tire Stickers shortlist and then pick the best hardware vendor.
Velvetech’s engineers found the most cost- and energy-efficient hardware components — accelerometer, source, temperature, and air pressure sensors that could work in harsh conditions.
Eventually, our team combined them into a single smart sensor and then programmed the firmware for it. Trying to build an IoT product that would consume the least power, Velvetech made an effort to find the optimal BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) chips.
IoT Mobile App
Unlike sensors that are mounted to tires, the mobile app is the most customer-facing part of Cerebrum. Based on the data coming from the sensors and sophisticated mathematical algorithms, the iOS app lets the driver see the state of each tire in real time:
- Tread wear
Besides, the IoT app quantifies the cost of inefficient tire conditions and excess CO2 emissions and represents it visually on the screen. Another notification option is that drivers may review their past rides and get recommendations for tire pressure adjustments to extend the life cycle of their tires.
The IoT app syncs collected data with the cloud, so it’s always safe and available to the driver, even if the phone is offline. And app notifications about low pressure, leaks, or blowouts make the Cerebrum app an indispensable driver companion.
Another mobile application we couldn’t leave the TireStickers team without was the one to support administrative tasks. Velvetech designed an app that helps the Client effectively manage their IoT product — configure the settings, conduct various tests, and keep an eye on its general performance.
To complement the mobile app, the Velvetech IoT product development team also built a web application. The app allows Tire Stickers’ admins to review driver details and perform basic operations like reassign sensors to a new owner, etc.
The development team used Angular Material templates — Google’s adaptation of Material Design for web applications — to speed up the development process. And Tire Stickers’ management gets to work with a modern web app that does not require training.
Tire Stickers made quite a splash at the Specialty Equipment Market Association 2019 in Las Vegas, with Cerebrum tire sensors winning the award as one of the most innovative and cutting-edge automotive aftermarket products for 2020.
At the SEMA show in 2021, the company was also announced as one of the finalists for the Gen-III Innovator of the Year award.
Unlike traditional TPMS, Cerebrum smart sensors act as the complete tire “brain”, providing a range of tire analytics viewable at a glance through the app and backed up to the server. Drivers can use this tire analytics to improve vehicle performance, fuel consumption, excess emissions, and even overall vehicle safety.
Our teams discuss the development of an Android app to let Android phone users get the benefits of the Cerebrum smart tire solution. Additionally, the IoT product is about to provide even more tire analytics in the future to support not only regular consumers but also professional auto racing drivers and enthusiasts.
There are also research and development activities aimed to enhance sensors with more advanced hardware and wireless data transfer technologies.
Velvetech and Tire Stickers keep putting common efforts into exploring the edges of the possible where modern hardware technologies meet advanced data analytics with the use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
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