SUMITOMO RUBBER INDUSTRIES TOP > News > 2021 > New Innovation Makes Tire Peripheral Sensors Battery Free~Sumitomo Rubber Working with Kansai University to Achieve Practical Applications for Tire Internal Power Generation Technology~

New Innovation Makes Tire Peripheral Sensors Battery Free~Sumitomo Rubber Working with Kansai University to Achieve Practical Applications for Tire Internal Power Generation Technology~

Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd.  has been working together with Professor Hiroshi Tani of Kansai University on joint research that aims to develop a new technology that can generate electric power from the rotation of a tire, which is accomplished by installing a power generating device (energy harvester*1) inside of a tire in order to harness the static electricity that is generated within a tire during rotation. We are pleased to announce that these efforts have now succeeded in making it possible to supply power to a tire peripheral sensor without the use of batteries. This breakthrough was achieved thanks to the addition of a power charging function to the energy harvester, as well as the optimization of the structures and materials involved in harvesting frictional charging, which greatly improves generated output.

Power Generating Device Installed Inside Tire How Power Is Supplied to Sensor (Image)

With this latest breakthrough, we have now developed an integrated system that uses the electricity generated by the energy harvester to charge a power control circuit, which in turn activates and supplies power to an external sensor. Our most recent verification testing has shown that, when a tire is running at 50km/h, the system produces over 800μW of power, which is enough to activate an external sensor and achieve continuous BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) transmission.
The Sumitomo Rubber Group is actively engaged in wide-ranging research and development as part of our SMART TYRE CONCEPT, a forward-thinking concept for the development of new technologies for tires and peripheral services, through which we aim to better respond to the needs of CASE, MaaS and other major new innovations that are already transforming the automotive industry.
One of the key themes of SMART TYRE CONCEPT is our ongoing efforts to provide solutions services that effectively turn tires into sensors (i.e. our proprietary SENSING CORE Technology). However, the limited battery life of sensor devices has so far been one of the greatest obstacles to making tire sensing technology a reality. By providing an effective solution to overcome this obstacle, Tire Internal Power Generation Technology represents an enormous step forward toward achieving practical applications for SENSING CORE Technology.

This project was selected by the Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST) to receive Stage II (Seeds Development Type) Support under the A-STEP Program*2 in October of 2019, and so we have been moving forward with these research and development activities with support from JST since then.

The Sumitomo Rubber Group will continue working to provide our own unique value as we strive to contribute to the realization of a safer Mobility Society for greater overall peace of mind, all based on our concept slogan of “Tires—Connecting with Vehicles, Connecting with People, Connecting with Society.”

*1. Energy harvesting is a technology that captures, collects and harnesses ambient energy, which is a catchall term for light, vibration, heat and other forms of energy that are present in minute quantities all around us. Ambient energy usually goes to waste if not harvested.
*2. A-STEP (Adaptable and Seamless Technology Transfer Program through Target-Driven R&D) is a program that supports joint research and development between academia and industry, and particularly projects that aim to verify the possibilities and practical applications of technological seeds (i.e. the results of basic research by universities, etc.) toward developing these seeds into new core technologies.

■Past News Release: “Joint Research between Sumitomo Rubber and Kansai University to Develop New Technology to Generate Electric Power Using Static Electricity within a Tire” (Issued July 2019)