Technological innovation has always been at the heart of what Pirelli does. While to many people tyres are merely round, black and – above all – similar, they actually hide years of hard work, research, development and testing of their individual elements, including construction, compound and tread-pattern designs.
At the Geneva Motor Show in March two innovations were unveiled that could be said to cover both looks and brains. These are Connesso, the integrated system that’s ‘talking’ to you right now, and the company’s range of Color Edition tyres.
Both can now be specified with the P Zero and Winter Sottozero, Pirelli’s top of the range summer and winter tyres, allowing drivers to mix and match between colours and sensors exactly as they wish.
How the smart sensor works
The Connesso system for intelligent tyres is an integrated platform that makes use of a sensor embedded within the P Zero and Winter Sottozero ranges to expand on information available from each car’s on-board computer. This sensor conveys data about the status, as well as any maintenance needed, of all four tyres.
As a result, even the most demanding drivers can improve the performance of their cars, while reducing fuel consumption by managing the tyres more efficiently.
The sensor weighs only a few grams and has no effect on the actual tyre performance. It gathers data on each tyre and sending it to a control unit and the Pirelli Cloud, which together form the real brains behind Connesso. These crunch the numbers, then send them to each driver’s personal app, with any warnings delivered via a special alert.
Connesso recognises the identification code of each tyre, measuring its pressure and temperature even when the car is standing still. It also supplies information about the vertical static load, how worn the tyre is and how many kilometres have been run on it. (A future version will provide an estimate of the number of kilometres still remaining). The system can also act as a pressure meter while the tyre is being inflated, giving the driver exact readings without having to wait for the tyres to cool down.
Thanks to alerts via your smartphone, the system can warn you when the pressure of one or more tyres is too low or when the wear limit is close to being reached. In both cases, the app is able to identify the tyre workshop that’s closest and has availability. It can even book an appointment to carry out any necessary maintenance, cutting down on waiting times. In a future update, Connesso will add a remote function that will let you activate tyre maintenance and replacement from a distance, when you’re away from your car.
There will also be new content for the Pirelli Connesso community, including the possibility to interact with other smartphone apps, information about which motorsport events are happening nearby and the ability to leave reviews of tyre workshops.
Tyres show their true colours
Pirelli’s second innovation is the Color Edition.
The demand for personalisation has grown over the past few years. Now, extensive research and testing has allowed Pirelli to develop proprietary technology to liven up the world’s most prestigious cars (among others) alongside other noted Pirelli specialities such as PNCS (Pirelli’s noise-reduction system), Run Flat and Seal Inside; technology that enables a tyre to repair itself in the event of a puncture.
That’s how the P Zero and Winter Sottozero Color Editions were born. Four initial colours of red, yellow, white and silver were previewed at the Geneva Motor Show, not just on the Pirelli stand but also adorning some of the most stunning cars of the exhibition on other stands. On request, other colours can be ordered, too.
To keep the colours vivid despite the demands of everyday road use, Pirelli has developed an innovative protection system with a new type of protective barrier guarding the colours and reducing the risk of fading.
Now there’s a bright idea.
Color Edition for the P Zero and Winter Sottozero ranges is now available for pre-order in 19-inch size and larger for prestige cars. Pirelli Connesso will also be available for the prestige-car sector from this summer; first in the United States, followed by key markets in Europe and the Far East.