Icy roads can intimidate even the best of drivers. With regular tires, your vehicle may skid much further to stop on sheet ice than on dry pavement. Imagine the extra security you'd feel in winter if you could only switch added surface grip on and off as needed. Soon, you may have that option. Q Tires, Inc. plans to release their Q tire at some point in 2009. Q tires will look and ride like mild-mannered all-season radials, but each one will pack a secret arsenal of 120 hardened studs that you can deploy at the push of a button when you encounter ice or packed snow. Then, once road conditions normalize, you simply retract the studs with another push of a button.
Until the Q tire appeared on the horizon, tire chains and studded snow tires have been the only products available to help drivers accelerate, stop and keep control of their vehicle on serious ice. However, chains and studs are really suitable only for the icy sections of the road. You may run into and out of these extra-slick areas several times over the course of your daily commute. On roads where you don't need chains or studs, they can be noisy, damaging to the road surface and even dangerous. Some states have made them illegal, while others have restricted their use.
Deployable stud tires are a seemingly simple concept, yet it would be impossible to execute without today's wireless technology. On the next page, we take a closer look at the innovative technology buried within the Q tire.