Royal Philips Electronics is increasing vehicle safety and driver convenience by launching a new chip solution dedicated for direct measurement of vehicle tire pressure and identification, leveraging Philips’ technology in wireless connectivity and automotive RFID Passive Keyless Entry systems. The new signal conditioning chip will boost safety in the car by communicating whether tire pressures are at their correct level and will increase convenience for the driver by reducing the need for regular manual checking of tire pressure. Direct or indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) will become a standard feature on cars within the next ten years and are required by US law from 2004 onwards. Direct measurement provides a much more accurate indication of tire pressure than is possible using an indirect measurement system, with the advantage that the signal is always available even when the vehicle is parked. Philips’ signal conditioning chip — P2SC — provides the link between the tire module and the driver interface, enabling early warning of incorrect tire pressure to the driver. The wireless link of the P2SC chip solution uses Philips’ industry-leading Passive Keyless Entry RFID technology and is already field proven and qualified for automotive use. “Tire Pressure Monitoring is set to become the fastest growing automotive electronics system over the next few years,” according to Simon Schofield, industry analyst with Strategy Analytics’ Automotive Practice. “Strategy Analytics expects the worldwide vehicle OEM market for direct tire pressure monitoring to have reached 15 million systems by 2006, growing to over 22 million systems by the end of the decade.” “TPMS systems are becoming standard features in vehicles and are set to be huge business,” said Pascal Langlois, vice president and general manager of Philips Semiconductors’ automotive division. “Philips is the market leader for integrated keyless entry and immobilization systems which use the same technology as the tire pressure monitoring systems, ensuring that we are well placed to become a market leader in TPMS systems.” Philips’ P2SC chip offers low frequency wake-up and high frequency return, enabling the system to “ask” each tire for its current pressure and position and relay this information to the driver. Each tire is “woken-up” every time the ignition is switched on — to give the driver status information on the tires before starting to drive. While driving, an adaptive wake-up pattern ensures regular status updates for the driver. In the event of a sudden drop in pressure, the tire will automatically relay this information to the driver without first needing to be woken-up. The driver would be made aware of the tire pressure through different systems such as an icon display or virtual car on the dashboard. Overcoming Auto-Rotation issues, Philips’ P2SC uses low-frequency wake-up to automatically identify the correct wheel transmitter, even after a tire position has changed during maintenance. This saves time-consuming reprogramming as required for other systems after tire rotations or when new tires are mounted. The signal conditioning chip, which is mounted directly onto the tire rim, is field proven for use in the harsh automotive environment. The chip can withstand shock resistance up to 2000G and temperatures of up to 175 degrees C. Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is one of the world’s biggest electronics companies and Europe’s largest, with sales of $ 28.8 billion (EUR 32.3 billion) in 2001.