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Wheels & Tyres

International technology company Continental and the University of Oxford are conducting joint research in the field of artificial intelligence. The partnership between Continental and the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford will focus on the possible uses and development of artificial intelligence algorithms, which have the potential to further enhance future mobility applications.

These deep-learning algorithms look set to optimise visual object detection and human–machine dialog moving forward. The first phase of the envisaged three-year partnership began in early November and includes new postdoctoral research positions at Oxford.

“Cooperating with leading research institutions is of the utmost importance to us. It is an important building block that will enable us to measure up to the persistent demands calling on us to shape the mobility of the future and acquire qualified employees and executives for tomorrow,” explains Kurt Lehmann, corporate technology officer at Continental.

Continental expects the partnership to yield findings on the use of artificial intelligence methods, including in the areas of automated and autonomous driving, the improvement of future vehicle access systems, accident minimisation through intelligent warning systems, and the sensitive dialog that will take place in the future between drivers and vehicles – between humans and their machines.

“I am delighted with this new, important collaboration between Continental and our world-leading Vision and Information Engineers. I look forward to it underpinning technology developments for mobility of the future”, says Lionel Tarassenko, Head of the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford.

“Our vision is a world in which the transportation of people and goods is fully automated and seamless, freeing up time and mental resources for other tasks. Continental will contribute its deep technological understanding and competence in the mobility world, while Oxford offers best-in-class algorithmic competence and an extremely innovative environment. With their help, we can transform our vision into reality; with our help, Oxford can see how their research is translated into new products and services for mobility of a future world”, says Demetrio Aiello, Head of Artificial Intelligence & Robotics at Continental.”

“Recent advances of artificial intelligence can revolutionize key technological areas such as transportation. The Oxford Visual Geometry Group is thrilled to collaborate with Continental in applying its cutting-edge research in deep learning and computer vision to the important and demanding domain of assisted mobility. We believe that, due to the extensive presence of Continental’s technology in the automotive sector, incorporating state-of-the-art artificial intelligence systems in their products has a significant transformative potential for this area,” said Professor Andrea Vedaldi, a Principal Investigator in the Visual Geometry Group.


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Scots Auto Scene trials Michelin’s new CrossClimate tyresrsz_pn002905


As an Editor and Journalist, the normal day-to-day usually involves a lot of copy writing, coffee, phone calls, emails, news searching and more coffee. If I am not out and about on the occasional client or garage visit, the majority of the time you will find me in our office in Leith.

As is the way the job works, when the rare opportunities arise for us to physically get our hands on a product and test them for ourselves, we jump on it.

We circulate to many tyre fitters around the country and work with various tyre companies and tyre charities, and so we understand the importance of this lucrative market and the potential profit-making opportunities the garage market can make by aligning themselves with leading brands.

In addition to Michelin’s existing portfolio of summer and winter tyre ranges, the manufacturer has recently launched their new CrossClimate tyre, the first every summer tyre to obtain winter certification for snow performance, identifiable by its 3PMSF logo (3-Peak Mountain with Snow Flake).

In addition to other attributes, Michelin are indeed very proud and confident of its benefits, so much so they very kindly had a set wrapped up and delivered to my local tyre fitters who fitted them to my trusty 2007 Honda Civic Sport to use and report back on.

I have now been running them for the past month and as is typical with our Scottish climatic variety, they have been through low and high (relative in this part of the world) temperatures, torrential rain, hail, mud, the lot.

Through this breadth of weather, I have to say where I have experienced the CrossClimate tyres impress the most is in the wet. Being A-rated for wet braking, on the motorway and B-roads especially, you really feel the advantages of its unique tyre pattern called ‘V tread’.

The tyres’ 3D interlocking and self-blocking sipes are wavy with variable thickness and complex geometry, and together with special sipes produce a claw-life effect, thus increasing traction. According to Michelin, the vertical and lateral undulations provide the self-blocking function. That is to say, they bind themselves together for greater rigidity of the tread blocks; the result is improved stability of the tyre, whatever forces it faces: longitudinal force when braking and accelerating and lateral force when cornering which means driving precision and general dry weather performance are improved. With this combination of advanced technologies, the overall rigidity of the tread is enhanced which not only improves driving precision on dry ground but also maximizes tyre life.

Michelin have also used an advanced tread compound, which is supple enough to adjust to the slightest roughness of the road surface in all conditions. As my Civic has factory-fitted sports suspension, this was an initial concern of mine which was quickly put to bed; the springs do make the ride hard but in comparison to before, the CrossClimates are able to maintain agility but thankfully more of the harshness is now absorbed.

A new undertread has been incorporated into the tyres design which reduces heat generation to optimise energy efficiency to give the CrossClimate ratings of B and C for fuel economy. Engineers have reduced this heat build-up thanks to the latest generation of silica which is introduced into the rubber mix during production.

It’s braking distance in the dry is also better than my previous tyres – a performance benefit which cannot be underestimated. The reduction in road noise over my other tyres is also a welcome change – in 225/45 R17 dimensions, the Cross Climates only produce 69 dB, while smaller sizes produce 68dB; a lot lower than I was expecting from a tyre with winter capabilities.


The CrossClimate is available in 23 different sizes from 15 to 17 inches, which covers 70% of the European market. Further sizes are schedule for 2016.

Contact your distributor for further details.


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Editor’s view:

With their new CrossClimate range, Michelin has created a tyre with an interesting and unique proposition, which your customers will no doubt appreciate.

65% of European motorists use summer tyres all year round, jeopardising safety in temperatures under 7°C where summer tyres are not as effective and winter tyres are recommended.

As a tyre retailer, offering Cross Climates is a genuinely convincing way to give your own customers an all year round solution – a solution which your competitors may not be aware of.

Saving time and improving accuracy in the pit lane, the new Bosch wheel alignment rig helps race teams perfect the vehicle setup in just minutes. Developed by Bosch Motorsport authorised dealer Motorsport Systems, in response to feedback from the racing community, the new system has already seen action as part of the British Touring Car Championship.b9387e245ab0cca8_org

Bosch Motorsport has a long history of supporting top teams with vital components and integrated systems. However, this new solution is born from Bosch equipment’s expertise in workshop-based wheel alignment, and promises to revolutionise race car setup.

Traditionally many race teams have not had access to an accurate wheel alignment tool while at a track, especially in the confines of the pit garages. This new solution from Bosch promises to revolutionise race engineers’ ability to fine tune handling and setup during practice and qualifying sessions.

Specially adapted to be portable, but retaining its accuracy, the rugged equipment allows the precise measurement of toe, toe-out on-turns, caster and the all-important camber quickly and easily. Packed in a flight case, the system offers quick set up, and is controlled via a rugged, touch-screen tablet. With large, clear adjustment graphics and live on-screen measurements, it remains both powerful and easy to use with an intuitive interface.

Designed to handle any vehicle with a wheel base of up to six meters, the new Bosch technology is suitable for all race car applications. The man behind the development of the system, Rich Benton of Motorsport Systems, knows the impact that the system will have: “There’s been a desperate need for something this portable and rugged and yet easy to use. It will let engineers quickly dial in changes to the car’s set up as soon as the driver returns to the pits. As a result, it will prove vital in getting the best from the car on any given day.”

The new equipment will be in use by the Speedworks Motorsport team during the seasons 11 races at tracks across the UK.


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