New Technology Could Prevent Aquaplaning

Tue 12th Apr 2022

Road safety boffins at Coventry University could have devised a solution to prevent cars from skidding in wet road conditions and prevent serious injury or death.

The issue of aquaplaning has long been a problem for motor manufacturers, who so far have not come up with an answer to the problem whereby surface water between tyre and the tarmac makes cars lose control of steering, braking and acceleration. Wet road conditions account for 30 per cent of all road accidents in the UK, but it is now hoped that a new system developed can fix the problem.

The team at Coventry University have developed a Run Dry Traction System (RTDS), which works by firing a jet of compressed air close to the front of the vehicle’s wheel, instantly creating a dry patch of tarmac for tyres to grip to the road. Although the RTDS is still only a prototype, early demos have been encouraging and have seen the time it takes to stop a vehicle reduced by 60 per cent. The trials have also seen a decrease in stopping distance by 3-5 metres when travelling at 60-70mph.

Professor Mike Blundell, professor of vehicle dynamics and impact at Coventry University, said: “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.”