By Denna Bowman
Goodyear has got its techies working flat out on a new innovation that could make tyre pumps obsolete.
According to the US manufacturer, the days of manually adding air to under-inflated tyres could be a distant memory thanks to a new innovation under development in its laboratories.
Keeping tyres properly inflated doesn’t just eliminate the practice of checking a tyre’s air pressure and finding a tyre pump and gauge that works. It also can mean real savings at the fuel pump.
According to Goodyear: “Whether you drive a passenger vehicle or a commercial truck, underinflated tyres 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 tyres also result in lower emissions, longer tyre life, enhanced safety and improved vehicle performance.”
Goodyear’s Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) will enable tyres 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 tyre.
Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear senior vice president and chief technical officer, explained: “While the technology is complex, the idea behind the AMT system is relatively simple and powered by the tyre itself as it rolls down the road.
“A tyre 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 tyre 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 tyres.
The grant will be administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory and work will be conducted at Goodyear’s Innovation Center in Akron, Ohio.