Innovation runs on track with technology from the Neapolitan start-up VESevo


The device developed by the young company, incubated in I3P, allows viscoelastic analysis of tyres both on the road and in production.

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In July 2023, on the circuits of international Formula 3 races, a new brand appeared on the side of one of the ultra-high-performance vehicles that race before the eyes of hundreds of thousands of fans: it is VESevo, an Italian innovative start-up from Naples that in just a few years has already successfully reached international markets thanks to its tyre analysis technology, with revolutionary development potential also for the entire plastics industry.

The project

VESevo's name originated in 2020 from the acronym of Viscoelasticity Evaluation System Evolved, its first and main project, also as a tribute to the iconic volcano Vesuvius, symbol of the Neapolitan territory. The innovative start-up originated as an academic spin-off, from the activities of the Vehicle Dynamics research group of the University of Naples 'Federico II' to which the founding team members belong, with the participation of MegaRide and an office at the Campania NewSteel incubator. The relationship with I3P, the Incubator of Politecnico di Torino, began in October 2022, when in the context of the participation in the Premio 2031 initiative, VESevo's project was selected by I3P and awarded an incubation path for the high innovation value of its technical solution.

In fact, VESevo develops hardware and software technologies capable of analysing tyres without requiring samples to be removed, an 'invasive' operation that consequently renders them unusable. The start-up's technology, today mainly aimed at industrial and motorsport customers, makes it possible to predict the behaviour of the tyre and the entire vehicle under varying operating conditions and progressive wear. VESevo's innovation also has potential use in various manufacturing sectors, offering non-destructive characterisation of industrial products composed totally or partially of polymers, for rapid, on-site testing of their viscoelastic characteristics.

How does it work

The one realised by the Neapolitan start-up is a technologically innovative device, conceived for the purpose of performing viscoelastic analyses of tyre treads, and more generally of viscoelastic materials, eliminating the need to remove parts of them in order to carry out various types of examinations. Thanks to its design, VESevo's device guarantees rapid measurement, complete portability and high test repeatability.

The instrument has a robust construction and a high degree of ergonomics. The metal rod contained within falls onto the surface of the sample to be analysed: before the rod hits the rubber, a built-in infrared probe measures the temperature of the material. The device's integrated software enables data acquisition via a user-friendly interface, allowing multiple tests to be conducted on the track, on the road or on the production line without any loss of information. Using the post-processing algorithm, the viscoelastic properties of the material can be digitally derived to predict its wear, grip level and service compliance.

The first market successes

The high level of innovativeness of the solution proposed by VESevo has been confirmed by the collaborations already developed with important international players in the motorsport and tyre manufacturing sectors. Less than a year after its foundation, the start-up has been able to count among its customers as many as five Formula 1 teams, four Formula E teams, three MotoGP teams and around 30 clients on four different continents. In 2021, after a strategic pivot, the analysis device born in academia was adopted by five tyre companies for quality control in production.

"VESevo's technology quickly proved to be extremely versatile and transversal to a multitude of application fields," commented Andrea Genovese, CEO of VESevo. "These features, which were not immediately apparent during the early stages of research and development, testify to the great importance of the technology transfer process between scientific research and actual market, as well as to the fundamental work of a fertile ecosystem, which not only allows the appropriate connections to be made, but also helps to provide the right tools to meet the challenges."

One of the major milestones reached by the start-up to date is the awarding of the Automotive Testing Technology International Awards 2021 as the overall winner in the 'Hardware Innovation of the Year' category. VESevo won the coveted international award, competing with automotive research giants such as Volvo, CSM, Messring and AB Dynamics, "for its innovativeness", the jurors pointed out, "in an area such as tyres that represents a frontier for simulations and sustainable development of the entire automotive sector."

The future of the start-up

In the tyre sector alone, the possible applications of VESevo's project range from the development of innovative polymers for treads to the optimisation of vehicle performance in terms of safety and sustainability. The development of new plastics for the future of mobility is in fact based on the search for the right mix of components to guarantee maximum performance in terms of grip, low energy dissipation and life extension: in pursuit of this goal, viscoelastic analysis, under different environmental conditions and directly in operation, can be a crucial advantage.

However, the next evolutionary step in VESevo's roadmap, which is development for applications on industrial lines, will enable it to address new market segments, no longer strictly for tyres, but for any rubber and plastic products, such as biomedical prostheses, industrial components (i.e. conveyor belts), and insulation materials.

Other planned steps towards the further development of VESevo's business plan are the definition and global qualification of the analysis system, transversally to the different industrial sectors of interest. In this perspective, a key element in the growth of the project is the patent strategy geared towards the protection of the company's know-how which was generated in the course of academic research activities in the automotive sector. At the same time, VESevo intends to increase the degree of technology automation in order to make the results independent of the operator who obtains them, thus making the product suitable for systematic use on production lines.