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Goodyear Opts for 125 KHz Tire Tag

Bucking the industry standard, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plans to offer a tire temperature and pressure system that uses a low-frequency RFID tag.
By Bob Violino
Mar 18, 2003March 19, 2003 - When it comes to using RFID to monitor tire pressure and temperature, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plans to take the road less traveled. The company has teamed with Siemens VDO Automotive to build the Tire IQ System, which uses a 125 KHz transponder.

The Automotive Industry Action Group's B-11 standard for North America calls for a reading distance of 24 inches and a 915 MHz frequency. The Goodyear system, which uses RFID and sensor technology from Siemens, has a reading distance of just six inches.

"While we support the B-11 standard in clean plant environments, we don't believe 915 MHz is effective for low-pressure warning systems," says Steve Roth, director of Goodyear Vehicle Systems. "There are too many limitations with 915. The technology is just not there."

Goodyear wanted the tags embedded in the tires to communicate with the car and relay information including pressure, temperature, and tire type in real-time. "When you bring in other constraints, we don't think the standard is sufficient," says Roth. "When Goodyear tested the 915 standard, variants such as mud, snow, and fog would distort the readings."

Roth says that's why the company opted to use 125 KHz technology, which is less affected by environmental interference. The only disadvantage, he says, is the reading distance. But Goodyear and Siemens have developed a "number of methods" to overcome that obstacle. Roth wouldn't provide details about those methods, but he says the company is about three months away from unveiling a new way to power the chip that would improve its reading distance.

What makes Goodyear's system unique is its ability to automatically detect the type of tire on the vehicle, whether it's a winter or summer tire or a spare, for example. The system queries each tire every 50 milliseconds to provide real-time readings to the driver. It can also use the tire's pressure to compensate for air temperature variations.

The TREAD (Transportation, Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation) Act, passed by the US Congress in November 2000, requires new motor vehicles from 2004 onward to be equipped with a system that will warn the driver when a tire is significantly under-inflated.

Goodyear's pressure monitoring system is expected to be available on new vehicles in 2006. Goodyear has not released pricing details as yet. Roth says a number of manufacturers are currently evaluating the system, adding that other tire companies will also be able to purchase the technology from Goodyear.

Texas Instruments and Philips Semiconductors have also introduced RFID-driven tire pressure and temperature monitoring systems (see RFID Chip To Monitor Tire Pressure). And Michelin has announced plans to offer automakers a system for tracking individual tires using RFID tags (see Michelin Embeds RFID Tags in Tires).

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