Goodyear (NASDAQ: GT) has developed a non-pneumatic (airless) tire (NPT) and wheel assembly to support autonomous vehicle transportation in a city setting with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA).
For the past three years, Goodyear and U.S. autonomous shuttle developer, Local Motors, have tested an Olli shuttle supported by the NPT at Goodyear testing facilities and other locations reaching several performance targets with respect to load, speed and durability.
This testing phase in Jacksonville will reveal more about non-pneumatic tires, with airless tires set to offer sustainable, maintenance-free and longer-lasting options.
The urban transportation environment provides an ideal testing scenario for the alternative tire architecture given its lower speed and less variable travel paths.
Goodyear and Local Motors will gather experiential data from the JTA, looking for viewpoints on ride comfort, noise and other variables.
Michael Rachita, Goodyear’s senior program manager, non-pneumatic tires, says: “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. This is an important milestone as 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.”
Local Motors President, Vikrant Aggarwal, adds: “Autonomous vehicles, like Olli, need to decrease maintenance costs and perform reliably. Goodyear’s non-pneumatic tires are positioned to give maintenance teams less to worry about while giving passengers a quiet, consistent ride. Non-pneumatic tires may just be the industry standard in the coming years.”
Local Motors has debuted three world firsts: the world’s first co-created vehicle, the world’s first 3D-printed car, and the world’s first co-created, autonomous, electric vehicle, Olli.
Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 72,000 people and manufactures its products in 54 facilities in 23 countries around the world.