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A UK-developed technology, that measures the tread depth and pressure of tyres in seconds, has been unveiled today (Tuesday 20th December 2016) as part of a ground-breaking ‘highway of the future’ live project in the USA. Located on interstate 85 in Western Georgia, this is the first time such sophisticated tyre monitoring technology has been used anywhere in the world.

Able to monitor the tyre condition without the need for any equipment or sensors on the vehicle itself, the road-embedded technology has been developed by WheelRight, an Oxford-based company. The unique, drive-over technology has been adopted by The Ray, an 18 mile stretch of highway connecting Georgia and Alabama, which aims to show how zero deaths, zero waste and zero carbon can be achieved on US interstates.

The business believes that its easy-to-use system could drastically improve safety on American highways, helping to reduce the 35,000 fatal accidents that occur on US roads every year.
Working in conjunction with other networked systems on The Ray, the WheelRight solution is ideal for smart city applications, providing detailed tyre condition information instantly via printed read-out or directly to mobile phones or laptops.

While tyre pressures are taken when the vehicle drives over the road-embedded sensor plates, tread depth is measured via sophisticated multi-image technology and imaging software.
Working with vehicle partner Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) and the charitable foundation behind the project, WheelRight is providing its drive-over tyre monitoring technology at The Ray’s Visitor Information Centre at the one mile marker of the highway. The Ray is a proving ground for new ideas and technologies that will transform the transport infrastructure of the future. The ground-braking environmental project is named after Ray C. Anderson, an American entrepreneur recognised as a leader in green business ethics.

This will be the first publicly available installation of the WheelRight drive-over tyre safety system anywhere in the U.S. Results of tyre pressure and tread depth measurements will be provided automatically on all tyres within seconds via a touch-sensitive kiosk that provides a printed read-out to drivers.

John Catling is CEO and a founder of WheelRight. He said: “While we’ve already road tested our technology on the UK’s busy M6 motorway, the adoption of our tyre monitoring technology at The Ray opens up this technology to a completely new market of American motorists.

“The opportunity to demonstrate our solution to around 750,000 drivers and passengers every year at The Ray is a great way of spreading the word about our simple, drive-over solution that reads tyre pressures and tread depths with no need for additional sensors on the car.

“All the car needs to do is drive over our embedded strip to receive their tyre readings within seconds via a print-out at a nearby kiosk. We think this kind of cloud-based technology could revolutionise the way people look after their tyres – reducing accidents, costs and carbon emissions.”

American Department of Transport data demonstrates that underinflated tyres can lead to skidding, hydroplaning, increased stopping distance, and blowouts.  All of these tyre failure issues increase the chances for crashes that can result in fatalities and injuries. The International Tyre and Rubber Association cites tyre under-inflation as the single most common factor in tyre failure.

KMMG and The Ray have committed to fully fund the acquisition and installation of the WheelRight tyre safety technology, thereby providing the services free of charge to drivers on The Ray, and creating more awareness of the dangers and negative economic impacts of driving with under or overinflated tyres and badly worn treads.

Annually, more than 762,000 visitors traveling in nearly 244,000 cars and trucks stop at the West Point Visitor Information Centre for travel guidance and comfort breaks.

KMMG and The Ray are providing an air compressor at the Visitor Centre, which will allow drivers to adjust tyre inflation at no charge, thereby reducing maintenance costs and achieving better fuel efficiency.

The WheelRight tyre safety system was unveiled at a showcase event at The Ray on Tuesday 20th December, which was attended by Governor Nathan Deal and senior officials from the State of Georgia.

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