Goodyear tests airless tyres for autonomus vehicles

July 14, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Goodyear tests airless tyres for autonomus vehicles
Goodyear claims to be the first company in the industry to develop a non-pneumatic (airless) tyre (NPT) and associated fitting kit. The concept has already been tested on an autonomous shuttle vehicle in an urban environment.

Over the past three years, Goodyear and US vehicle manufacturer Local Motors have NPT tyres tested mounted on an autonomous shuttle vehicle at Goodyear test facilities and other locations, achieving several performance targets in terms of load, speed and durability.

Since 2019, Goodyear has been testing such airless tyres on the road in a close and continuously deepening collaboration with Local Motors. The company hopes the NPT development will provide maintenance-free tyres with longer service life compared to conventional ones. The urban traffic environment provides an ideal test scenario for the alternative tyre architecture, as speeds are lower and travel distances are less variable.

Goodyear and Local Motors will gather experience data from the JTA and explore aspects such as ride comfort, noise and other parameters.

Local Motors is a rather unusual carmaker: The company, Founded in 2007, the company designs, manufactures, and deploys next-generation vehicles. Founded in 2007, the company favours an open collaborating approach. Local Motors began low-volume vehicle manufacturing of open-source designs utilizing a microfactory model. Since its inception, the company has debuted the world's first 3D-printed car and the world's first co-created, autonomous, electric vehicle - the Olli shuttle which is used to test the airless tires.

"As mobility evolves, we feel that tires can transform the way we move and alternative airless architectures are ideal, particularly in the emerging autonomous transportation environment," said Michael Rachita, Goodyear's senior program manager, non-pneumatic tires. "We look to advance mobility today and as we look to introduce the first completely sustainable and maintenance-free tires by the end of the decade."

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