Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has developed and is testing a custom-engineered airless tyre to support Starship delivery robots. Starship Technologies, a Goodyear Ventures portfolio company, builds and operates a network of over 1,000 last mile autonomous robots that carry and deliver packages, groceries and food directly to customers.
Goodyear’s specially engineered non-pneumatic tyre (NPT) is designed to extend tyre life and reduce maintenance activities for Starship’s delivery fleet.
Goodyear and Starship have entered an in-field testing phase at Bowling Green State University in Ohio to evaluate vehicle and tire dependencies.
Early on-vehicle tire testing data has shown positive results with respect to treadwear, braking and vibration dampening.
Starship’s delivery robots have completed over two million autonomous deliveries around the world.
They drive autonomously but are monitored by humans who can take control at any time.
Michael Rachita, Goodyear’s senior program manager, non-pneumatic tires, says: “We are excited to extend our unique airless tire architectures into new forms of mobility. The micro delivery space presents a different set of needs as it relates to the tire, and our NPT technology is ideal to meet those needs to help enable a maintenance-free and long-lasting experience.”
Siim Viilup, mechanical engineering manager, Starship Technologies, comments: “Our delivery robots make thousands of deliveries every day in all types of weather conditions and terrain. To make sure we can keep up with the growing demand for our services, we need tires that are reliable and keep our robots on the move around the clock and around the globe. It’s great to see these new tires offering reliability as well as cost savings as we scale our business.”
Starship was founded by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis (Skype Chief Architect and Co-founder) and Alastair Westgarth is the CEO.