For normal operation of the vehicle, the onboard electrics require a battery, during discharge of which an important sensor or device may turn off. Japanese engineers announced an unusual method of generating electricity while driving on the highway. As a power source, they suggest using vehicle tires.
Japanese concern Sumimoto Rubber with the participation of researchers from the Japanese University Kansai presented the concept of an unusual power generator placed inside a car tire. The module consists of two layers of rubber covered with electrodes, on which a film with positive and negative charges is applied from different sides. When the wheel rolls on the ground, the tire contact spot deforms, creating static electricity: this effect is known as "friction charging".
The device converts the charge into electricity, theoretically able to provide power to the backlight of the dashboard or car. In 2015, researchers from the University of Wisconsin - Madison (USA) worked on a similar development — they managed to convert tire friction into power sufficient to glow the headlights of a toy jeep.
While it is not about commercializing the technology, Sumimoto expects that it could be used to power the tire pressure sensors. In the future, the development of the Japanese company can be widely used as an alternative source of energy for automotive devices.