DAEJEON, Aug. 25 (Korea Bizwire) – The future of the automotive industry may rely heavily on electric vehicles, but regardless of propulsion type, one thing that all cars have in common is their tires.
According to the Korean Industrial Property Office (KIPO) Thursday, the number of patent applications for high-performance tires offering improved safety has gradually increased over the past decade.
While the number of patent applications remained in the double digits until 2010 (95), it increased to 106 in 2011, 135 in 2012, and 146 in 2013 before dropping to to 88 (2014) and 71 (2015).
The most common type of patent was for run-flat tires designed to run a certain distance at a speed of at least 80km/h after they have been punctured. The KIPO said a total of 149 run-flat patents were filed in the last 10 years, with domestic manufacturers like Kumho Tire (40) and Hankook Tire (30) accounting for more than half of the applications.
Airless tires, or non-pneumatic tires, which are not supported by air pressure but instead maintain their form with spider web-like spokes using rubber or urethane, were also popular, with 181 patent applications over the same period.
Tire sealant technology, which allows for the instant repair of a perforated area on a tire, has made progress as well, with 60 patents filed since 2006, and the duo of Kumho and Hankook claiming 15 patents each.
Tire pressure monitoring systems, or TPMS, are another tire-related technology that can help prevent car accidents by monitoring changes in tire air pressure while driving.
Domestic vehicle and auto parts manufacturers accounted for the majority of these types of applications, with Hyundai affiliates Hyundai Motor Company (79), Hyundai Autron (52), and Hyundai Mobis (39) accounting for 71 percent of the patent filings.
“The safety and performance of a vehicle is largely affected by the kind of tire that is used,” said Kim Sung-nam, chief of the vehicle assessment department at KIPO. “With heightened competition for electric vehicles that are equipped with heavy batteries weighing at least 200kg, we expect continued patent applications for even better, safer tires.”
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)