Smart tires are rolling out to predict flats, blowouts

Tire makers have come up with a host of ideas to kick-start a future where conventional black rubber tires do more than roll down the highway. For instance, Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli envisions scenarios where tires sense changes on the street, predict hazardous situations and can intervene if necessary. Some concepts are grounded more closely to where transportation is today, such as tires with embedded sensors offering early indications of damage.

The possible benefits are twofold: Tire companies get sellable information on driving behavior and they can use the data to enhance products. And consumers get futuristic features that make vehicles feel more like smartphones on wheels.