Pirelli Launches New Simulator To Speed Up Tire Development

The idea is to match the automakers' lead time for new models

[Photos: Pirelli]

You may not think about tires too often, but they’re the most important link between your car and the road. We demonstrated how critical they are recently when we took our Tesla Model X out — on all-season tires, mind you — and compared its performance to the 2020 Land Rover Discovery on winter tires. Now, Pirelli announced a new simulator to help cut down on development time, so the Italian firm can push out new products to market on a faster time table.

Modern technology has drastically reduced R&D overhead in several industries, and that also applies to tires. Despite the leaps forward in recent years, though, Pirelli still leans on traditional development cycles and testing. It’s still an analog process, where physical prototypes and testing can draw out the lead time between the original concept and the final production version. Using this VI-grade developed 2 simulator, Pirelli can virtually test out their tire designs using the technical specifications of any car. A control rom can then log the results of the simulation and adjust the design as needed from there.

Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti in the company’s newest tire development simulator.

Pirelli says the simulator can speed up tire development by up to 30 percent. The company had used this technology for more than a decade while developing Formula 1 tires, but the key with this simulator is to translate that technology to new road tires as well. The work they carry out with the simulator can then integrate with the “dynamic simulator project” installed at Milan’s Polytechnic University.

With this latest setup, it looks like we’ll see many more new tire designs from Pirelli in the near future, particularly with luxury and performance cars. Stay tuned for more updates!