Improperly inflated tires reduce fuel efficiency, increase carbon emissions and can be dangerous to drivers and roadway passengers. The Department of Transportation estimates that In the U.S alone, underinflated tires waste two billion gallons of fuel each year. Many drivers don’t keep their tires properly inflated because our current methods of monitoring and inflation are both difficult and inconvenient.
To improve fuel economy and safety—and to gather data to help inform public policy and drive awareness—The Ray is home to a roll-over tire pressure monitor located at the Georgia Visitor Information Center off of Exit 1 on I-85. The WheelRight Tire Pressure Monitoring System can measure pressures on vehicles traveling up to about 10 mph; and the monitor’s connected to an automatic number plate recognition camera. The vehicle simply rolls over the monitor, and a kiosk sends a text message or gives a print out to the driver, delivering critical info about their tire pressure and tread depth.
The Ray’s drive-through tire safety station, WheelRight, reads the tire pressure and tread depth of over 2,500 cars every year, of which 18 percent are underinflated. Those drivers contributed an extra 54,000 tons of CO2, and used an extra 6,000 gallons of gasoline every year. This is a multifaceted problem that has driver safety, air quality, fuel economy and even national security implications.
In June of 2018, The Ray upgraded it’s WheelRight system. The additional capability contains all the critical information necessary to describe the tire and identify a suitable replacement. This new feature allows drivers to obtain information about tread depth and pressure specific to their vehicle, identify how much usable life is left on the tire, and where to find a suitable replacement.
The tire sidewall reader is comprise of two towers adjacent to the side of the vehicle in which cameras and lights are housed. As a vehicle passes through, the lights and cameras are triggered, capturing up to 20 images of the rotating tire. Within seconds, these images are subsequently processed using sophisticated computer imaging software to automatically “read” the information embossed on the side of the tire. This data will include the name of the manufacturer and the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) code.
The addition of the tire sidewall reader will allow WheelRight to develop further safety critical tire information to alert drivers of damaged tire sidewalls.