Technology developer RL Automotive has introduced a tyre management platform with a range of monitoring systems, which it says will enable fleet managers across all commercial sectors to reduce running costs, increase safety and limit the environmental impact of their operation.
One such system, AutoAlign – recently launched in the UK following a £2m/24-month development project and part funded by UK’s Clean Air Programme – is a real-time vehicle monitoring module designed to combat wheel misalignment. This condition, says RL Automotive, is unknowingly suffered by a third of all commercial vehicles and around half of all cars and vans in the UK.
Currently, wheel alignment inspection is not part of scheduled maintenance or MOT tests; however, misalignment results in excessive fuel costs and uneven tyre tread abrasion which in turn can lead to tyre failure, accidents and excessive particulate emissions.
AutoAlign is said to represent a low-cost solution, consisting of sensors fitted to the steering axle to detect wheel misalignment as soon as it occurs. RL Automotive’s cloud-based servers automatically alert fleet managers so that they can take remedial action, saving fuel costs and excessive vehicle emissions.
During the development phase, the RL Automotive team worked closely with global workshop equipment manufacturer Josam. It was important to the RL design team to make sure that the wheel alignment monitoring functions of AutoAlign were wholly compatible with the most widely used equipment required to fully diagnose and correct any misalignment issues.
AutoAlign eliminates the vehicle downtime incurred for routine manual chassis and wheel alignment checks, says RL Automotive, and is especially beneficial when technicians can immediately determine from the vehicle data that no misalignment is present and therefore no checks or test need be carried out.
“This is all about good-old prevention rather than cure,” said RL Automotive director Mark Longden. “Using our unique telematics connectivity, we already have a mobile wheel and chassis alignment system in place, but this new module uses bespoke wheel sensors in harness with F1-grade telematics to enable vehicle operators to remotely identify any misalignment issues before they become a serious and costly problem.”
He added: “Just one degree out of alignment between the wheels and/or the vehicle centre will cause a 15 per cent deficiency in tyre wear and three per cent increased fuel cost. Therefore, early corrective action will greatly reduce carbon output and keep PM 10 and PM 2.5 tyre particulate emissions to a minimum.”
AutoAlign is currently undergoing field trials with several strategic industrial fleet partners and is scheduled for release during the first quarter of 2022.