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Pirelli Cyber Tire features 5G to make rubber pretty darn smart

It's the first time a smart tire's used a 5G network to transfer data.

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Here's how rubber talks.

Pirelli

To many, a tire is just a piece of rubber that makes the wheel go round. In reality, it's one of the most important parts of a vehicle today, even before any additional technology, and in the future, it's going to be even more paramount.

That's certainly the case with the Cyber Tire, tire maker Pirelli's somewhat villainous name in the US for its latest smart tire, called the Cyber Tyre in the UK. On Monday, Pirelli became the first tire manufacturer to transfer data from a smart tire over a 5G network during a vehicle technology event. It wasn't some rather boring message or dull exercise of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology, either.

Instead, Pirelli's demonstration had a vehicle motoring about, but as soon as the 5G-enabled Cyber Tire detected water and loss of traction, it told a nearby vehicle there was a chance of hydroplaning. Pretty neat stuff.

V2X tech isn't totally new, but it's still in the process of finding its way to mass-market cars. Only a few models on sale today house V2X capability, which gives cars the ability to "talk" to infrastructure, other vehicles and more. In a broad sense, the car can communicate with other vehicles to perhaps warn them of slippery road conditions, similar to what the Cyber Tire demonstrated. In other instances, the car could communicate with traffic signals and show drivers how long until a light turns green. That's real-life technology, by the way, which Audi includes in some models.

As for Cyber Tire, Pirelli isn't stopping at the ability to relay only minimal information. Internal sensors will one day be able to tell drivers how many miles they've driven and their dynamic load and work with driver assistance and active safety systems to react to whatever the world throws at the car.

Imagine if the tires knew of ice before you even felt the loss of traction; a Cyber Tire system could tell traction and stability control to do something about it before you even react.

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