Akron, Ohio – Goodyear has claimed an industry first with the launch of non-pneumatic tire (NPT) and wheel assembly for autonomous public transport in a city setting.
The tires will be fitted on Olli 2.0 autonomous shuttles which will be employed for urban transportation testing by the Jacksonville transportation authority (JTA) in Florida, Goodyear announced 13 July.
Over the past three years, Goodyear said it tested the tires with shuttle manufacturer Local Motors at testing facilities and other locations to achieve performance targets with respect to load, speed and durability.
The US tire maker now expects the new urban transportation environment to provide a 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.
“As mobility evolves, we feel that tires can transform the way we move and alternative airless architectures are ideal,” said Michael Rachita, Goodyear’s senior programme manager, non-pneumatic tires.
The “milestone” is particularly important as Goodyear aims to introduce its first “completely sustainable and maintenance-free tires” by the end of the decade, Rachita added.
"Autonomous vehicles, like Olli, need to decrease maintenance costs and perform reliably," said Local Motors president Vikrant Aggarwal.
Non-pneumatic tires, he said, give maintenance teams “less to worry about” while giving passengers “a quiet, consistent ride.”