It's important to keep your tires sufficiently inflated, both for the sake of the tires themselves, and in order to maximize the performance and fuel economy of your vehicle. The problem is that for many of us, we only think to check our tire pressure when heading out on a long road trip - if even then. With Goodyear's Air Maintenance Technology (AMT), however, that shouldn't matter. The system, which is currently in development, would automatically keep tires topped up to the proper pressure.
All of the electronic and mechanical components would be contained within the tires themselves, running off of power generated by the tires' rolling motion. AMT would monitor each tire's air pressure, and use a miniature pump to draw in air as needed. Goodyear hasn't stated whether the system could also expel air, to keep hot tires from becoming overinflated.
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There's also no word on when AMT might be commercially available, although the company said that research has been accelerated due to two grants - this week, the United States Department of Energy's Office of Vehicle Technology awarded Goodyear US$1.5 million to develop AMT for commercial truck tires, while the government of Luxembourg provided a grant for development of consumer tires, last month.
While there have been self-inflating tire systems before, most of these have not been fully contained within the tire, let alone powered by it. One exception is CODA DEVELOPMENT's SIT system, that uses a built-in peristaltic pump to continuously keep tires from getting soft.