These days RFID (radio-frequency identification) is showing up in more places that you might think. In construction, for instance, the technology has become incredibly savvy—showing up in everything from tools to even workers’ badges on the jobsite. But now we are seeing companies trying to take the technology to places it has never been before.

Take Michelin, www.michelin.co.uk, Clermont-Ferrand, France, for example. The tire maker is working on a new brand set of tires that it calls “communicating tires.” By combining RFID (radio-frequency identification) with TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system), these tires will provide a complete picture of a tire’s condition.

The company says it has plans to place the RFID chips in tires for commercial fleets to communicate data including tire pressure and temperature. While Michelin did not point specifically to construction, one could only imagine the types of advantages this could create for this industry. Contractors looking to track and record realtime data about their fleet could leverage this technology to ensure its vehicles’ tires are properly inflated and in optimal condition. Such data could prove highly valuable in maintaining overall fleet performance.

The fact that these chips will also allow customers to trace tires throughout a fleet as they move from one vehicle to another can help track the complete lifecycle of the tire. Michelin says this will be accomplished by building an RFID chip and antennae assembly into the Michelin X InCity tire casing. The chip will work in conjunction with a separate wheel rim-mounted TPMS.

Due to the fact the chip is embedded into the tire, it cannot be lost or worn. The chip is powered by the reader as it collects data, a process known as passive RFID, which means it saves on energy too.

Does an RFID-enabled tire on your vehicles seem a bit too futuristic to be real? Perhaps, but companies like Michelin are testing the limits to see what the technology can indeed do to help improve fleet performance. What’s next is anyone’s guess, but it sure is fun to imagine the possibilities.