Goodyear, Local Motors, Beep & JTA test airless tires

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Goodyear announced Tuesday that they had developed a non-pneumatic (airless) tire (NPT) and wheel assembly to support autonomous vehicle transportation in a city setting for in-field use with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA).

For three years, Goodyear and Local Motors have tested an Olli shuttle supported by the NPT at Goodyear testing facilities and other locations. The airless tires had reached several performance targets in relation to load, speed, and durability, the companies said.

“Autonomous vehicles, like Olli, need to decrease maintenance costs and perform reliably,” said Local Motors President Vikrant Aggarwal. “Goodyear’s non-pneumatic tires are positioned to give maintenance teams less to worry about while giving passengers a quiet, consistent ride. Non-pneumatic tires may just be the industry standard in the coming years.”

In 2019, Goodyear switched its airless tire concentration to on-road testing and growing its relationship with Local Motors. The companies believe the testing phase will reveal more about airless tires, possibly offering sustainable, maintenance-free, and longer-lasting tire options.

“Testing with best-in-class software and technology partners is enabling the JTA to lead globally in readiness for the use of autonomous platform in an urban environment. We are excited for the opportunity to extend the Test & Learn program with the JTA, Goodyear, and Local Motors to prove out the use of other innovations such as the Goodyear airless tires, as this will only further transform transportation as we know it,” Beep CEO Joe Moye, said.

Through tests with the JTA, Goodyear and Local Motors will gather data and look 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, particularly in the emerging autonomous transportation environment,” said Michael Rachita, Goodyear’s senior program manager, non-pneumatic tires. “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 tires by the end of the decade.”