Kal Tire


Tire Health Check Challenge

Propose a method of measuring tire tread depth that is fast, accurate, and easy to implement.

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed



At Kal Tire, we are seeking a new technology or methodology to deploy in our 260 stores that will help inform our customers about the health and condition of their tires. Submit your idea for how we can measure tire tread depth in a way that is faster, more accurate and easier to implement than the status quo!


The Problem

Tires bear the grip and friction force between a vehicle and the ground. Worn tires will result in slippage, a longer braking distance, and even flat tires, which could possibly result in a driving accident. As such, legislators all over the world have defined a minimum tire tread depth for safe driving. Drivers can rely on tread wear indicators on a tire’s grooves for a quick at-home tire check. Additionally, drivers can have a technician assess tire wear at a local shop during a routine maintenance visit. However, existing methods of tire tread depth measurement are slow, manual, or often imprecise.

This Challenge

Your job is to propose a method of measuring tire tread depth that is fast, accurate, and easy to implement.  


How is Tire Tread Depth Measured Today?

Digital Tire Gauge Meter

Consumers today are able to purchase off-the-shelf gauges to measure tire tread wear for as little as $20. Such tools are simple to use, allowing the user to hold the gauge to the surface of the tire and get a digital reading in +/-30 seconds. While this is a convenient at-home option, there is potential for user error in measurement or reading. Additionally, the results from these readings do not accurately convey the tire tread wear pattern across the entire tire, therefore leaving out critical data necessary to make a determination of tire rotation or replacement.

Engineers and innovators have noticed the same problems we have. As a result, more technologically advanced gauges have entered the market, leveraging laser technology to collect tire tread data.


Hand Held Laser + Smartphone Application

The most advanced method of tire tread depth measurement available today relies on laser scanning technology. This system includes a scanner and smartphone that fit into the palm of a user. A technician obtains tread depth data by moving his hand, while holding the scanner over a tire profile. The scanner uploads the data to a server for determination of tread depth, tire wear pattern and wheel alignment. The tire tread analysis is downloaded and reported to the technician via a smartphone.  Wear and analysis results are forwarded for exporting and printing the entire report to guide conversations with the customer.

Unfortunately, although certainly a step in the right direction on accuracy and sophistication of the quality of data collected, this option is expensive and lacks straightforward implementation plans for us to deploy in our stores. We are seeking a solution that can fill all of these gaps, and become the next tire tread measurement tool to be deployed.


What Does the Ideal Solution Look Like?

We are seeking a tire tread measurement solution that will free up the time of our technicians, only taking 15-seconds or less to collect all necessary tire data on 1 tire with as little of the process requiring manual work as possible. Because we have locations all across Canada, and operate 365 days a year, tire data must be able to be collected in a variety of lighting and environmental conditions. Finally, all measurements must be captured within a sub 1 millimeter level of accuracy.  

Note: Competitors are not responsible for analyzing whether the tire tread data results in a rotation, replacement, or rebalance. That’s our job!


About Kal Tire

Kal Tire is Canada’s largest independent tire dealer and one of North America’s largest commercial tire dealers. Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group is a global leader in mining tire service and supply, servicing more than 150 mine sites across five continents. The company has warehouse facilities strategically located across Canada servicing over 260 Kal Tire retail and commercial stores. Kal Tire owns and operates five earthmover retreading facilities located in Canada, the United Kingdom, West Africa and Chile.

Founded by Tom Foord in 1953, and based in Vernon, BC, Kal Tire has expanded steadily and now employs more than 6,500 team members internationally.

To learn more about Kal Tire, visit us at


Get Involved

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  • Share this challenge on social media using the icons above. Show your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.
  • Start a conversation in our Forum to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.


Note: All Kal Tire employees and current faculty and students of University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus (UBCO) are not eligible to compete.


Challenge Breakthrough

We are seeking a tire tread depth measurement solution that will be faster and more accurate than current measurements, taking 15-seconds or less to collect all necessary tire data for 1 tire, with as little of the process requiring manual work as possible.


What a breakthrough means for Kal Tire and our customers

Currently, the customer experience at Kal Tire already includes a tire technician that is responsible for assessing tire tread. This process is highly manual, requiring the technician to measure each of the four tires multiple times, across each tread face. The technician then records their findings manually on a piece of paper, which varies in legibility, ultimately causing possible inaccurate reporting.


We are envisioning a future customer journey where technicians accompany clients to their vehicle, and with minimal equipment and time, generate an accurate, easy-to-read tire health report. Through this challenge, we are seeking the tread depth measurement technology required to create this experience for our customers.  Does your solution rely on image processing from a smartphone camera or hand-held, laser-based technology? There are a multitude of solutions that could fit. We can’t wait to hear your ideas and work with winners on testing and implementation.



Kal Tire is committed to awarding up to $40,000 in cash awards.

  • Up to 2 prizes maybe be awarded with the smallest prize expected to be no smaller than $10,000

Additionally, winning concepts have the potential to earn additional development opportunities, or work with Kal Tire on testing and implementation.



  • Pre-Registration Begins     June 27th, 2018
  • Open to Submissions         July 11th, 2018
  • Submission Deadline          October 17th, 2018 @ 5pm ET
  • Judging Window                  October 18th - December 10th, 2018
  • Winner Announcement       December 11th, 2018                    


How Do I Win?

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for an award, your proposal must, at minimum*:


  • Data Collection: Your solution must collect the necessary tire tread depth measurements for one tire in 15 seconds or less.


  • Your solution must collect tire tread depth measurements to at least a 1 mm level of accuracy.


  • The solution must be handheld and easily transported to the location of measurement.

*Submissions with faster collection or processing speeds, or higher levels of accuracy than the minimum eligibility requirements will then be ranked according to the Judging Criteria below. 


Judging Criteria






How long does it take to collect tire tread depth measurement data? How long does it take to process the collected data?



Is the data able to be collected in a variety of different lighting and/or environmental conditions relevant to Kal Tire locations?



How accurate (past the 1mm minimum standard) is the tire tread depth measurement?


Ease of Implementation

If selected as a winner, how quickly can this tool be implemented into 260 retail stores? What are the logistics, time requirements, and costs associated? How well does the solution integrate into the existing Kal Tire experience?



How does the proposed solution differ from existing solutions addressing this problem? How is the solution innovative?








Participation Eligibility:

The challenge is open to all adult individuals, private teams, public teams, and collegiate teams, except for current faculty and students of University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus (UBCO)or any Kal Tire employees. Teams may originate from any country. Submissions must be made in English. All challenge-related communication will be in English.

No specific qualifications or expertise in the automotive field is required. Prize organizers encourage outside individuals and non-expert teams to compete and propose new solutions.

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.


Registration and Submissions:

Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the website, on or before 5:00 Eastern Time on October 17th, 2018. All uploads must be in PDF format. No late submissions will be accepted.


Intellectual Property Rights:

As detailed in the Challenge-Specific Agreement – Innovator will retain all intellectual property rights to their technology.


Selection of Winners:

Based on the winning criteria, prizes will be awarded per the Judging Criteria section above. In the case of a tie, the winner(s) will be selected based on the highest votes from the Judges.

In the case of no winner, Kal Tire reserves the right to withhold the Prize amount. In place of the original prize amount, Kal Tire must issue a Consolation Prize to the team or individual closest to the winning solution in the amount of at least 10% of the total original prize purse.


Judging Panel:

The determination of the winners will be made at the sole discretion of Kal Tire.


Additional Information:

  • By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to submit only their original idea. Any indication of "copying" amongst competitors is grounds for disqualification.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no recourse or reimbursement.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.

Challenge Updates

And the winners are…

March 21, 2019, 10 a.m. PDT by Liz Treadwell


We are proud to announce our winners in the Tire Health Check Challenge

By the close of the project, we had received over 40 entries. And after a thorough evaluation round, we have selected the following winners and their submissions:

  • 1st place $20,000 Cdn. prize: Cliff Edwards and his submission, Tire Tread Profiling Contour Gauge and App
    • Submission short description: The gauge quickly captures groove depths across a tire. The camera app rapidly analyses the gauge profile & auto reports all tread depths.
  • 2nd place $10,000 Cdn. prize: Sangameshwar S H and his submission, TyRead - Read between the treads
    • Submission short description: Leverage the power of a hand-held profile gauge and a smartphone camera to generate a full-width tread profile of a tire within seconds.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the innovators who participated in this challenge. While only two prizes were awarded, there were so many other insightful solutions that we are confident many will do great things in the future. Thank you all for helping make this crowdsourcing project a success.

Lastly, we would like to thank all our supporters, partners, commenters and anyone else who in any way contributed to our community as well as the prize. Without you, we would not have had the turnout that we did.



The Kal Tire team

Timeline Changes

Dec. 5, 2018, 3 p.m. PST by Liz Treadwell

Kal Tire is very excited by the ideas submitted to the Tire Health Check Challenge!


All of these great submissions also means a lot of due diligence in judging and winner selection.  The Kal Tire team will be taking some extra time to review and evaluate the submitted ideas, and will be moving back the winner announcement to March 2019. An exact date will be determined sometime in January or February.

In the meantime, have a happy holiday season!

8 Hours Remaining to Submit!

Oct. 17, 2018, 6 a.m. PDT by Joeana Lutha Mae Villo

If you're still assembling your submission, you have exactly 8 hours left to complete it!

Here's a Tip: HeroX recommends innovators plan to submit with at least a 3-hour window of time before the true deadline. Last-minute technical problems and unforeseen roadblocks have been the cause of many headaches. Don't let that be you!

Two Day Warning

Oct. 15, 2018, 2 p.m. PDT by Joeana Lutha Mae Villo

This is your official two-day reminder!

That's right, the Tire Health Check Challenge will be closing this coming October 17th at 5:00 pm Eastern Time (New York/USA).

Please be sure to complete your submission form well before the exact cut-off time.

At exactly 5:00 pm ET, we can no longer accept new submissions!

Got questions?

Now is the time to speak up! Comment directly on this update with any questions about the submission process and we'll get back to you right away!

Five Days Left to Submit (TIPS)

Oct. 12, 2018, 2 p.m. PDT by Joeana Lutha Mae Villo

We are quickly approaching the final days open for submission to the Tire Health Check Challenge. The deadline is October 17th at 5:00 pm Eastern Time (New York/USA.)

Here are a couple of last-minute tips for a smooth entry process:

1. Begin your submission process several days before the cutoff time. This allows you to ensure everything you have been working on can be seamlessly integrated into the form.

2. Your submission will not be reviewed until you click the orange "Submit Entry" button at the top of the final review page. Please remember to do this!

3. Review the Challenge Guidelines to ensure your submission is complete. Pay particular attention to the judging criteria which will be the scorecard used to evaluate your entry.

4. Have any questions? Head over to the challenge forum and we would love to help you out.

Thanks so much, and good luck to all!

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