A tyre that senses the condition of the road it is running on and indicates when tyres need to be replaced is under development and should be unveiled next year.

A tyre that senses the condition of the road it is running on and indicates when tyres need to be replaced is under development and should be unveiled next year.

The special tyre will have tiny electronic sensors submitting data hundreds of times a second. Built into the tread blocks, these sensors will measure how much rubber is on the ground and how much grip there is. The information will then be sent to computer chips controlling the brakes and suspension if any irregularities are detected. A joint development between Pirelli and DaimlerChrysler the technology will maximise handling and response time when the driver turns the steering wheel.

"Tyres will no longer be a passive component," said a spokesman for the project. "They will be a vital part of the control systems contributing to driving comfort and safety."

In addition, the sensors will indicate when the tread is wearing down and keep the driver informed of exactly when a replacement tyre is needed. The product will probably be revealed next year, with Mercedes Benz cars likely to get the technology first.