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Goodyear testing airless tyre on autonomous shuttles

Goodyear has developed a non-pneumatic (airless) tyre (NPT) and wheel assembly to support autonomous vehicle transportation in a city setting for in-field use with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) in the US.

For the past three years, Goodyear and 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.

In 2019, Goodyear pivoted its NPT concentration to on-road testing and a growing relationship with Local Motors.

While this testing phase will reveal more about non-pneumatic tyres, airless tyres may offer sustainable, maintenance-free and longer-lasting options.

The urban transportation environment provides an ideal testing scenario for the alternative tyre 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.

“As mobility evolves, we feel that tyres 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 tyres.

“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 tyres by the end of the decade.”