Tesla files patent application for new automatic tyre inflation system

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 2, 2018

Tesla has filed a patent application for its own new design of an automatic tyre inflation system.

Although not specified in the patent application whether the ATIS will be designed for cars or trucks, the inventor listed on the filing is John Furtado, who has been working on the Tesla Semi programme for Tesla.

Furtado‘s LinkedIn profile says until September he was a senior mechanical design engineer on the chassis dynamics engineering team of the Tesla Semi, and was the integration lead for brakes, brake controls, pneumatics, wheel ends, wheels and tyres.

The application listed the following ‘shortcomings‘ of existing systems:

“These prior solutions had a number of shortcomings. With some prior art techniques, air was fed through hollow drive axles to a fitting located on the end thereof. The fitting was then coupled to the air inlets of the tyres. To couple the air into the hollow drive axles, a rotatingly attached fitting coupled air from an air storage to the inside of the hollow axles. This fitting was subject to leakage of contaminants. These contaminants interfered with the operation of the ATIS and eventually caused the ATIS to fail.”

The application noted that in contrast, Tesla‘s ATIS includes a controller, valves controlled by the controller, the valves having an air supply inlet, and “a plurality of air outlets”.

“Further,” the application reads, “the ATIS includes, for at least one drive axle having inner bearings and outer bearings, a channel formed in a spindle, first hosing coupling a valve of the valves controlled by the controller to the channel formed in the spindle, a channel formed in a hub, a rotary air seal residing between the inner bearings and the outer bearings and coupling the channel formed in the spindle to the channel formed in the hub, and second hosing coupling the channel formed in the hub to at least one wheel.”

Diagrams of Tesla‘s Automatic Tyre Inflation System. [Credit: US Patent Office]