Speaker Interviews

Discover more about the topics and technologies to be discussed at this year's conference, via a series of exclusive interviews with a selection of our expert speakers

Real-time thermodynamic simulation of tires

Flavio Farroni, CEO and co-founder of MegaRide, introduces the startup’s simulation technology and explains how its thermodynamic tire model can provide a wealth of previously invisible data to vehicle and tire manufacturers, as well as race teams, ADAS developers and more.

What are MegaRide and thermoRIDE?
MegaRide is a spin-off company of the vehicle dynamics research group at the University of Naples. The main characteristic of the technologies we provide is the capability to analyze and replicate the physics of tire/road interaction phenomena by way of analytic formulations. What’s more, we’re able to run these simulations in real time.

The thermoRIDE model is aimed at the energy-based evaluation of the temperature in each layer of a tire’s structure. It is suitable for the analysis of thermodynamic phenomena, or it can be run in real time on a CPU or driving simulators for the enhancement of data reliability and performance correlations in tire development and motorsport.

What are the most important applications?
It is simply not possible to continuously measure the temperature evolution of different layers of a tire while on the move. Nevertheless, this information can be very valuable in numerous applications, so simulating it is a good alternative.

In the development of premium road cars and race cars, having this information means that development teams can precisely evaluate the optimal thermal working range for a given specification. In the tire industry, it means that the proper choice of materials, thicknesses and layout can be predicted as early as the design stage, allowing the engineers to set specific targets.

In the development of road vehicles, having this temperature data simplifies the dialogue between OEMs and tire makers, reducing the amount of testing that is required. In the world of driving simulations, it allows the model to be more accurate, so that the user can drive in the exact thermal conditions expected in a certain place, at certain boundary conditions, with the correct driving sensations and accurate grip, stiffness and wear variations due to temperature evolution.

What have been the most significant recent improvements to the model?
Given that we’re a spin-off of the University of Naples, our background is research, and this helps us a lot in the development of new and increasingly detailed features. We recently brought the discretization of the model in the lateral direction, which is fundamental for motorcycles and local analysis. The model supports up to 16 ribs and can sustain real time most of the time.

Moreover, the model is able to physically reproduce the progressive reduction of tread due to wear and the resulting effects on thermal dynamics, which are significant. The most interesting results have so far been achieved by our partners who couple thermoRIDE with the MF-evo adheRIDE model. This combination enables high-level analysis of the correlation between tire temperature and viscoelasticity, with the consequences on grip prediction.

How was the Ducati MotoGP team able to contribute?
As with all our motorsport partners in F1, Formula E, WEC, DTM and other GT series, the cooperation with a MotoGP team really raised the level of precision and predictiveness of the model. The high camber angle required in motorcycle applications, the multi-compound treads and the high energy absorbed by the tire in racing applications pushed our team to invest in refined modeling methodologies and this led to continuously improved releases and compliance with several simulation platforms.

What’s next?
MegaRide is a startup project that’s growing very quickly. The team and the revenues have trebled in the last two years, allowing us to pursue a wide range of projects in tire analysis, modeling and simulations, with several highly relevant partners. We recently started work on airless tires, human telemetry and software for sensor-equipped tires, so that we’re always up to date with the new technical trends in the tire industry. Our development roadmap also includes porting our technologies to onboard systems in vehicles. This will allow our models to supply real-time grip levels – sensitive to temperature, wear and road conditions – to other systems that can use these for vehicle controls, ADAS and autonomous driving.

Flavio’s presentation will be part of the Modeling the Tire, Vehicle and Road stream on Day 2 of the conference. View the full conference program here.

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Future show: Tire Technology Expo 2021, March 2, 3, 4 2021, Hannover, Germany