TOKYO—Looking to get ahead of the development curve for connected vehicle technologies, Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. is partnering with Japanese electronics components company Alps Alpine Co. Ltd. on researching tire sensors for passenger vehicles.
The partnership reflects YRC's belief that tires will need to be CASE (connected/autonomous/shared/electronic) compliant and part of the Internet of Things, the Japanese tire maker said at the Tokyo Motor Show, running through Nov. 4.
Focusing on the "connected" aspect, YRC said it is conducting research and development with a view to create a solutions business that uses digital tools to process and manage data about tire wear and road surface conditions. This will build on the firm's previous R&D on tire pressure monitoring, it said.
"We believe it is important to develop systems and applications that provide data obtained from tires to drivers and certain other parties," Yokohama said. "Such systems and apps are widely expected to add value to new tire business."
Linking tire operation history and other vehicle data with Yokohama's tire management system will enable users to analyze vehicle operation trends and receive notification of the proper timing for tire inspection, YRC said, thus raising the comprehensive vehicle operation management to a new level and promoting the use of retread tires.
Established in 1948, Alps Alpine is an electronic components firm that develops information and communications products used in smartphones and other devices, in-vehicle audio equipment, and information/communications equipment.
In addition to sensor development, YRC said Alps Alpine has system design and software development capabilities that it expects will deliver a synergistic effect to its tire business model.
YRC claims it was the first tire maker in Japan to develop a tire pressure monitoring system—dubbed "AIR Watch"—for passenger cars, in 2004.
In addition, since 2003, Yokohama Rubber has been selling its "Hites" TPMS product to transport companies that require strict tire management.