New vehicle types, as a key trend, are introducing new challenges for tire manufacturers, including dealing with additional weight in particular, he said.
Electric vehicles also are quicker off the line, with the additional torque "ripping some rubber off of those tires," he said. Tires for electric vehicles will need to be even more efficient, providing longer range and less rolling resistance.
Electric vehicles also mean additional cabin noise, which tires will need to play a part in solving.
With additional load capacity and other challenges, tire manufacturers will have to look at things like the car's contact patch. An EV might need a larger one, Popio said. Going to thin, narrow tires might mean they spin more, which would run counter to the high efficiency goals of the EV.
Another challenge, according to Popio is represented by autonomous vehicles and passengers’ missing sensory cues of impending tire problems.
“The vehicle would need the capability to sense it,” the expert added.
The tires also would need to sense environment feedback and manage a comfortable ride by mitigating "turbulence" on a bumpy road.
Furthermore, new business models will shape the tire industry going forward and the industry would need to prepare for the change of approach.
“Ride hailing services such as Uber or Lyft, remain popular, with double-digit growth year over year… Another new approach is a subscription model,” said Popio.
In all three cases, the tire industry will see change, as dealer networks become less useful and direct relationships with automotive companies become more common, Popio added.
As car ownership is less common, a fleet mentality might be a regular approach, where the individual brand of the tire might not matter.