Installing even "quick-fit" snow chains is time-consuming, fiddly and requires you to get on your knees. It's bad enough to do in your garage, and even worse when you drive into an unexpected snowstorm and have to do it on the side of the road.
To eliminate this need, Hyundai and Kia have unveiled a concept that would allow drivers to deploy snow chains from inside the car, at the press of a button.
"The snow chain-integrated tire technology consists of a wheel and tire assembly that feature radial grooves at regular intervals, like a pizza, with modules made of shape memory alloy inserted into these channels."
"This technology takes advantage of the shape memory alloy's ability to return to its original shape when an electric current is applied. During normal driving, the shape memory alloy located inside the wheel is compressed into the shape of the letter 'L' and does not contact the road surface. When the driver activates the function, an electric current is applied, causing the shape memory alloy to revert to its original profile; the material forms a 'J' shape, pushing the module out of the tire to make contact with the surface, improving grip, stability and safety on snowy roads."
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Lastly, they note the system would make it easier to spot when the tires need replacing:
"If the surface of the tire is worn down to the height of the module in normal driving mode due to severe tire wear, drivers can easily recognize this degradation so as not miss the tire replacement cycle."
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