VRBNO POD PRADEDEM, Czech Republic (Reuters) - After struggling one night to get chains on his tyres on a snowy mountain, Czech businessman Petr Gross decided he needed to come up with something that did the job better.
So over the next three years he developed a new device at the back of the car parts factory he runs in the east of the Czech Republic.
The result is a mechanized system that fits over the wheel like a hubcap and can be fitted before a journey. It has four arms that, when triggered by remote control, extend to grab the tire, deploying steel spikes for ice and plastic grips for snow.
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Gross plans to roll out the first plastic devices for cars in February, with a view to making bigger models for trucks and buses later.
"We see the future of the chains mainly for trucks and buses because those vehicles are using mostly only summer tyres... and the use of some anti-slips or chains is crucial for them," he says.
The device is already patented in the Czech Republic and Gross has applied for patents in other European countries.
(Reporting by Reuters Television; editing by John Stonestreet)