5 per 1000 of road accidents occur in snowy conditions. They seem low figures, but on large numbers they make a difference, it's about dozens and dozens of deaths. For this reason, in the winter season, and in given conditions, it is essential (although mandatory) to fit on your car tyres snow or chains.
The latter, snow chains, are widespread in the collective imagination but have many contraindications. First of all, they are not easy to assemble (for some they can represent a real nightmare). Above all, however, they are unusable in urban or suburban areas, where the risks of road adhesion are often invisible because they are due to ice or residues left by snow set aside on the side of the road.
Tires with claws
To change that, the South Korean tire manufacturer Nexen Tire has developed Conqueror, a smart winter tire equipped with sensors. And not only.
Conqueror is the result of a collaboration with the Korea Design Membership, a hotbed of design talent, and is literally capable of transforming itself. Its integrated sensors, in fact, allow it to adapt to traffic conditions. When it detects ice or snow in winter, it activates special studs, which "grab" the road, providing better grip.
Curiously, the offshoots on the surface of its tread look just like snowflakes: they are called "deformation cylinders".
How does this smart snow tire work?
The upper portion of the crumple cylinders house the lugs and rubber tread, while the lower portion incorporates tiny shock absorbers that absorb bumps and road irregularities. The sensors, integrated directly into the tire frame, are activated as soon as snow or ice is detected.
Conqueror is not yet available for sale: I hope it arrives soon, because it could really save lives!