Goodyear developing self-inflating tires


#1

Say goodbye to loud compressors, leaky hoses and inaccurate tire gauges. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, one of the world’s largest tire maufacturers, has developed a system which will allow tires to self-inflate automatically. Goodyear’s so-called Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) is completely self-contained, without any need for external pumps or electronics, says the tire maker. “While the technology is complex, the idea behind the AMT system is relatively simple and powered by the tire itself as it rolls down the road,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear senior vice president and chief technical officer.

Tires kept at optimal operating pressure deliver lower emissions, longer tire life, enhanced safety and improved vehicle performance, says Goodyear. Government research indicates that underinflated tires result in a 2.5 percent to 3.3 percent decrease in fuel mileage - that’s about 12 cents per gallon at the pump.

Goodyear has not provided any costs or an estimate when the technology will become available to the public, but it has received grants from the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technology to help further development.
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New Goodyear Innovation Could Make Tire Pumps Obsolete
Government Grants to Help Quicken Development

AKRON, Ohio, August 11, 2011 – The days of manually adding air to under-inflated tires could be a distant memory thanks to a new innovation under development in laboratories at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.

Keeping tires properly inflated doesn’t just eliminate the practice of checking a tire’s air pressure and finding a tire pump and gauge that works. It also can mean real savings at the fuel pump.

Whether you drive a passenger vehicle or a commercial truck, underinflated tires result in between a 2.5 percent and 3.3 percent decrease in fuel mileage, according to government and industry research. At today’s prices, that translates to about 12 cents per gallon at the pump.

Properly inflated tires also result in lower emissions, longer tire life, enhanced safety and improved vehicle performance.

Goodyear’s Air Maintenance Technology (AMT), will enable tires to remain inflated at the optimum pressure without the need for any external pumps or electronics. All components of the AMT system, including the miniaturized pump, will be fully contained within the tire.

“While the technology is complex, the idea behind the AMT system is relatively simple and powered by the tire itself as it rolls down the road,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear senior vice president and chief technical officer.

“A tire that can maintain its own inflation is something drivers have wanted for many years. Goodyear has taken on this challenge and the progress we have made is very encouraging,” said Kihn. “This will become the kind of technological breakthrough that people will wonder how they ever lived without.”

Goodyear did not provide an estimate as to when this technology would be available at tire retailers, but said the timetable would be accelerated due to recent government research grants in United States and European Union.

The United States Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technology Wednesday announced it has awarded a $1.5 million grant for research, development and demonstration of the AMT system for commercial truck tires. The grant will be administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory and work will be conducted at Goodyear’s Innovation Center in Akron, Ohio.

In July, Goodyear successfully applied for a grant from the Luxemburg government for research and development of an AMT system for consumer tires. That work will be conducted at Goodyear’s Innovation Center in Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg.

“While similar in concept, there are significant differences in AMT systems for consumer and commercial tires,” said Kihn. “The tangible support from both the U.S. and Luxembourg governments underscores the value of these projects and the many positive benefits they can provide drivers around the world.”

In addition, The DOE’s Office of Vehicle Technology today also announced that it will award a $1.5 million grant for a joint project between PPG Industries and Goodyear to improve the rolling resistance and fuel efficiency of tires. The project’s objective is to increase average fuel efficiency of passenger vehicle fleets through use of new tread and inner liner technologies.

“Advanced technologies that are invisible to the human eye – like those we are working on with PPG – will help to dramatically improve fuel efficiency of tires while maintaining other important qualities such as traction and tread-life,” said Kihn.

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs approximately 73,000 people and manufactures its products in 54 facilities in 22 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com.


#2

BS:

Please refer to my comment posted in your Ford F-150 thread.


#3

I don’t understand how they put a pump IN THE TIRES. Not the rims, not the wheel hub…the tire itself? I mean, how thick is the rubber material, 1" tops?


#4

Another 2.4 - 3.3% increase in mileage that will probably be incorporated into vehicles to help meet the new CAFE requirements…at what cost?

I’m outta money! I’m drained! Please save me! I’ll be happy to continue to check my own air pressure! I promise!


#5

meanjoe- what if the pump was not one of the traditional electric pumps you might associate with pumping air? The first thought I had was more of a passive design similar in nature to a peristaltic pump. If chambers were incorporated into the tire with some valving, the road could act like the rotor and force air into the tire. A pressure relief valve would always insure that excessive pressure bled off and maintained the proper inflation pressure. It may not be the way they designed it but this is one way they could fit a “pump” into the tire…


#6

Interseting thought TT. I was thinking more of an impellar setup attached somehow to the hub with a bypass valve or something like that.

It’ll be interesting to see what Goodyear is developing.


#7

It will also be interesting to see what these tires sell for and what kind of lawsuit develops when, and if, those tires start blowing out at speed due to underinflation.

After all, we know that millions of dollars and years of research pretty much guarantee a trouble free car, part, or accessory. :wink:


#8

At some point when the device is perfected, they will be just as common place and popular as the power lumbar support and heated seat.
It’s OK by me. I would think it especially helpful for EVs.


#9

I think it’d be great as an option, but it’s not something I’d want to pay for. My fear is that it’ll become standard, driven by the new CAFE requirements, and I’ll have to pay for it whether I want it or not.


#10

If the bill or regulation goes through, starting in 2013 I think it is car makers will be required to start requiring of all car makers and all vehicles under 10K Lbs GW that they be outfitted so as to prevent someone from being ejected if they don’t wear a seat belt.

This is going to require seat belt redesign, redesigned airbags, and a tether system of sorts is the way I read it. This would start in 2013 and full implementation by 2017.
That is going to be expensive, not just in the production costs but also in any service and repair costs.


#11

Consider all of the changes in automotive engineering including disc brakes, fuel injection etc. That were all met with reluctance because many were satisfied with what they had. Over time, these changes make for much safer, more reliable products and for lower cost of upkeep. If done correctly, there is NO reason why all that lost energy in heat couldn’t be put to good use doing something practical in a tire rolling down the road. Heck, I often had the same opinion of my teenage kids growing up. All that wasted energy when they could be doing something practical. What a novel idea.


#12

“meanjoe- what if the pump was not one of the traditional electric pumps you might associate with pumping air? The first thought I had was more of a passive design similar in nature to a peristaltic pump. If chambers were incorporated into the tire with some valving, the road could act like the rotor and force air into the tire.”

Well, if that’s true, then such a tire would operate less efficiently than a standard tire (assuming the standard tire was properly inflated).

The “passive” design you mention (I’m thinking of a collapsible chamber with a check valve on the “high pressure” side) would be constantly pumping air. As anyone who’s ever pumped up a car tire with a bicycle pump can attest, pumping air is WORK and takes energy.

Thus, a pump that utlizes the weight of the car would be “always on” and always sapping energy from the vehicle. Maybe the Powers That Be have decided that this loss is preferrable to the loss from underinflated tires, but it’s a bit vexing to me, to have to take a FE hit so that people too lazy to check tire pressure won’t.


#13

Were you expecting a free lunch? No matter how it’s done it will consume energy…


#14

If done correctly, it could passively run only when the tire needs air. Just as the thermostat in your furnace has upper and lower ranges and only comes on between them. The energy use Is so little, it becomes worth it. We accept these energy expenditures in everything from the stereo to the AC with few complaints from a surplus energy producing and wasting 250 hp motor. It is of little concern energy wise. I see ( probably wrong) a system where the flex in the tire is actually reduce, producing an inperceived stiffer ride during the pumping action with the tire actually running cooler during this time. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if your gas mileage actually improved during this time ?