Could This Wet Weather Invention Save Thousands Of Lives?

Wed 6th Oct 2021

Slippery road surfaces during wet weather could be a thing of the past if an innovative new invention gets adopted by the motoring industry.

Boffins at Coventry University have developed a technology which fires a high-pressure jet of compressed air in front of tyres, literally blowing away the water on the surface of a wet road, and in the process dramatically reducing the risk of aquaplaning.

The Run Dry Traction System has already been tested on a range of surfaces, including sand and gravel, but it is the potential for wet roads which has the inventors excited.

“Our tests demonstrate that RDTS has the potential to make a huge impact on vehicle safety in a whole host of conditions,” said Professor Mike Blundell, professor of vehicle dynamics and impact at Coventry University.

“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 is the process by where a layer of surface water prevents the tyre from connecting with the road surface and therefore an immediate loss of vehicle control is felt. Aquaplaning can happen with even 2mm of water and often leads to accidents categorised as ‘unavoidable’ by the insurance industry and Ravi Ranjan from Coventry University says that even with improvements in assisted driving technology, those unavoidable accidents are unlikely to decrease.

He said: When aquaplaning starts, you’re basically sliding with no control at all.

“If you look at the insurance pay-out industry, it’s more than a trillion dollars, and every accident, even if it’s not resulting in a fatality, results in the early end of the vehicle. So that not only impacts on the cost of ownership of the vehicle but also the green aspect comes into play.”