3D printed graphene-based self-powered strain sensors for smart tires in autonomous vehicles


The transition of autonomous vehicles into fleets requires an advanced control system design that relies on continuous feedback from the tires. Smart tires enable continuous monitoring of these dynamic parameters by combining strain sensing with traditional tire functions. Here, we provide breakthrough in this direction by demonstrating direct mask-less 3D printed strain gauges and flexible piezoelectric energy harvester and their integration with tires. Depending upon the requirements of the tire control systems, inks of different materials (conducting, semiconducting, ferroelectric, etc.) were designed and directly printed on to relevant substrates. Printed sensors were embedded within inner line of tire and characterized through extensive road testing under varying driving speeds. A secure wireless data transfer hardware powered by a piezoelectric patch is implemented to demonstrate self-powered sensing and wireless communication capability. Combined, this study significantly advances the design and fabrication of cost-effective smart tires by demonstrating practical self-powered wireless strain sensing capability.

Nature Communications