German tyre and automotive supplier Continental has come up with a handy new generation of tyre sensors that adjust inflation pressure to suit the vehicle's load.

This function, they say, is particularly useful for drivers setting off on long holiday drives. The technology was previously only available for special vehicles where specific axle loads needed to be checked.

Andreas Wolf, head of the body and security business unit at Continental, explained: “In the past, it was more or less up to drivers to 'guess-timate' to the best of their abilities whether or not the maximum permitted payload of a car had already been reached.

“In the future, the vehicle will be able to tell the driver after just a few hundred metres whether its weight is over the limit, or whether the tyre pressure would simply need to be adjusted accordingly.

“In this way, our tyre pressure sensors will not only help to save fuel, but also offer active assistance in terms of vehicle safety.”

In order to perfect the tyre sensors, Conti engineers took advantage of some of the physical characteristics of tyres. The area where the tyre touches the ground - the so-called contact patch - increases in size as a result of the weight bearing down on the tyre.

With every revolution of the tyre, the sensor uses this area to register the tyre's rolling characteristics. The system is fed with the existing tyre pressure and exact data about the tyres fitted to the car.

It is then able to inform the driver if the tyre pressure needs adjusting to the current all-up vehicle weight. - Sapa-dpa