Michelin's Puncture-Proof Tire Prototype Could Make Flats a Thing of the Past

Steve Fecht for General Motors
Steve Fecht for General Motors

Flat tires have long been the biggest plague facing motorists. In 2017, research conducted by auto experts AAA found that 28 percent of new-model cars didn’t even come with a spare tire in the event of a tire failure, with manufacturers choosing to eliminate them to reduce costs and improve fuel efficiency. In 2016, the AAA estimated that it assisted 450,000 drivers with flats and repairs. Loss of air pressure or simply driving over a piercing object can blow out a tire, causing delays, accidents, and emergency stops into repair facilities.

Tire manufacturer Michelin is looking to change that. In collaboration with General Motors, the company is working on a tire named Uptis (Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System) that doesn’t use air and cannot be rendered flat. The design, which would be the first airless tire system for passenger cars, debuted at this week’s Movin’ On Summit in Montreal.

Though the tire has conventional treads, the middle layer is made of composite rubber and resin-embedded fiberglass spokes. The spokes provide support for the treads and remove the need for air.

The two companies believe the Uptis will last longer than a regular tire because it cannot be worn down by being under or over-inflated. The design is also intended to be environmentally friendly, as it would reduce the number of tires thrown out due to damage. According to Michelin, 200 million tires are discarded every year.

The tires will be tested in a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles later this year. If the trial goes well, Michelin expects they could be available on new General Motors vehicles by 2024. It’s not yet clear whether Michelin would sell the tires separately or if vehicles might need some kind of modified chassis in order to accommodate them.

[h/t WBTW]

The UK Wants to Use 'Noise Cameras' to Crack Down on Loud Cars and Bikes

iStock/Ales-A
iStock/Ales-A

Snarled traffic creates more than air pollution. Thanks to modified engines, mufflers, and exhaust systems on cars and motorcycles, congested roadways can become symphonies of belching and rattling. Now, the UK government is looking to do something about it.

According to the BBC, the Department for Transport is currently testing “acoustic cameras” that will measure the decibel levels of vehicles on public roads. If a microphone detects a vehicle producing an excessive amount of noise, a camera will photograph the source and the owner will be fined.

What defines excessive? That remains to be seen. The UK enacted a law in 2016 limiting new cars to no more than 74 decibels. It's primarily older cars and modified motorbikes that create noise disturbances and prompt complaints from people living nearby.

The trial equipment will also need to prove it can identify one vehicle's noise emissions from another's and single out cars from other possible sources of sound. If the trial results are promising, it's likely the "acoustic cameras" will be policing UK roads in the near future.

[h/t Jalopnik]

This Scented Smart Candle is Fire-Safe and Alexa-Friendly

LuDela
LuDela

Candlelight can do a lot for a room, setting a mood and signaling that it’s time to relax. But not everyone is comfortable with the idea of nursing a tiny flame and melting wax indoors. Technology has provided a solution in the form of the LuDela Perfect Pillar, a smart candle and decorative accent that takes the worry out of a flame-lit atmosphere.

The battery-powered artificial candle generates its flame with refillable liquid paraffin and offers a variety of different scents in the form of SunScent fragrance rings, which you can place on top of the candle to release the scent of your choice. The candle never dims or melts, and you can swap out its fragrance ring at any time to give your home a new scent.

The LuDela Perfect Pillar smart candle starter set
LuDela

The LuDela candle's smart features make it a safer choice than your typical accent candle, especially for homes with small kids or pets. For instance, it has a sensor inside that detects when the device is tilting; if it falls over, the flame is automatically extinguished. You can also turn the candle on and off or create a timed session using the included remote control or your Amazon Alexa. The remote control comes with a child-lock option to prevent little hands from turning the candle on without adult supervision.

You can find the LuDela Perfect Pillar on Amazon, where a starter set with a wax candle fixture, two liquid paraffin refills (which burn for approximately 20 hours each), two fragrance rings, and a remote control goes for $99. Subsequent refill capsules cost $10 per two-pack.

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