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Tire Characterization — It Takes a Little to Save a Lot!

James F. Cuttino, Ph.D.
President and CEO of Camber Ridge, LLC.


A thorough understanding of tire performance is a critical part of successful road vehicle design.  Vehicle manufacturers are increasingly relying on virtual prototyping employing advanced vehicle dynamics models to reduce costs and time, but these models are highly dependent on the quality of the tire data used.  Unfortunately,  the difficulty of acquiring accurate and repeatable data that can reproduce tire performance on real roads has resulted in unreliable results.  Inaccurate tire data therefore remain the number one complaint of simulation engineers.

        Camber Ridge’s Genesis Tire test System was developed to address this issue.  The only one of its kind, the facility consists of an indoor, environmentally controlled, half-mile paved oval over which a programmable carriage travels at speeds of up to 60 mph.  The carriage precisely orients and loads a text tire, and is able to replicate suspension movements of most passenger vehicles.  Accuracy of the tire data and quick turnaround times provide a new tool to shorten the vehicle development cycle while also reducing costs.   This presentation will describe this new facility, show video of the machine in operation, and illustrate the types of data that can be acquired.


Dr.  James (Jim) Cuttino founded Camber Ridge LLC in 2009 and serves as its President and CEO .  Camber Ridge was founded to advance the state of the art in tire characterization.  He received his BS and MS degrees from Clemson University before joining Michelin America’s Research and Development Corporation in 1987.  While at Michelin, he developed software tools for tire design, conducted tire optimization exercises using finite element analyses, and supervised validation studies.  He left Michelin to pursue his Ph.D.  in precision engineering and instrumentation at North Carolina State University.   

Jim taught mechanical engineering at The University of Alabama from 1995 to 1999, prior to returning to the Carolinas to join UNC Charlotte.  In 2005, he started the Motorsports and Automotive Research Center, which he directed until he left the university to start Camber Ridge.  His primary areas of research include vehicle dynamics and chassis / suspension systems, motorsports instrumentation, and topics in precision instrument design.