Researchers at Coventry University in the UK are in the process of testing a newly developed device that prevents vehicles from aquaplaning and losing traction control in adverse road conditions. The Run Dry Traction System (RDTS) was built as part of a two-year project led by Professor Mike Blundell and Ravi Ranjan from Coventry University’s Centre for Future Transport and Cities.
The system, which is currently in prototype form, employs a novel approach to the prevention of aquaplaning and loss of traction by stopping water and other contaminants from reaching the tire. It does so by firing a jet of compressed gas close to the front of the wheel, removing surface water in front of the tire and providing a dry patch of road. This ensures grip is not compromised by road contaminants such as water, sand and gravel.
Professor Mike Blundell, professor of vehicle dynamics and impact at Coventry University, commented, “Our tests demonstrate that RDTS has the potential to make a huge impact on vehicle safety in a whole host of conditions. The prospect of producing something that could even save lives on the road is extremely exciting and after some initial success with testing, we’re now eager to look into manufacturing potential and further research to take this concept to the next level.
“A device like this really could be the difference between life and death if it can help vehicles to stop safely within certain distances, and that’s why we’re so keen to continue developing this concept.”
Aquaplaning, also known as hydroplaning, happens when a layer of surface water builds up between a vehicle’s tires and the road surface, leading to a complete loss of grip. This can occur with as little as 2-3mm of standing water on the road surface when vehicles are traveling at a variety of speeds and is one of the leading causes of road traffic accidents.
Designed to be fitted to a range of vehicles, including cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles, with further development the team believe that the Run Dry Traction System could potentially be used to improve aircraft ground operations and rail transport safety too.
You can watch a video of the system in action here.