DURHAM, N.C.—Sensor technology company Tyrata Inc. is moving forward with development of its IntelliTread Drive-Over System (DOS) and Internal Tread Sensor product lines after raising $2.9 million in new funding.
Tyrata said the new funding—raised from global investors in spite of "significant" COVID-19 pandemic headwinds—is a confirmation of market demand for automated tread-depth monitoring and the strength of Tyrata's technology and data services offering.
Several major fleet operators in the U.S. are in the process of "qualifying" the IntelliTread DOS for use in their operations, Tyrata said, without identifying the fleets.
In the U.S., where DOS has been in commercial operation since the beginning of 2020, Tyrata said it is in small volume production with plans to scale up manufacturing early in 2021.
Durham-based Tyrata, a start-up founded in 2018 to commercialize sensor technology developed at Duke University, disclosed its development of a drive-over tread-monitoring system a year ago.
The IntelliTread DOS collects tire-wear data when a vehicle drives over a speed-bump-like unit, which is linked to cloud-based data analytics. The system is designed to alert service and depot managers to the tire's tread condition in real time.
The core of the technology developed at Duke centers on the use of carbon nanotubes (cylinders of carbon atoms one nanometer in diameter) that reportedly can track millimeter-scale changes in tread depth with 99 percent accuracy.
In the U.S., Tyrata is managing sales of its products directly, whereas globally it's developing strategic sales and service relationships. It recently struck a distribution and servicing rights deal in Japan with Marubeni Corp. and is working toward a commercial deal in Europe as well.