Goodyear's self-inflating tire system could make air pumps obsolete
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.
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.
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It\'s about time.
Seriously, why has Brazil had automatic tire inflation systems for such a long time(Roto-aire)on commercial vehicles and Goodyear is JUST now getting around to figuring this out?
All commercial vehicles with air brakes have no shortage of compressed air....
However lets separate the issue of tread depth from TPMS. For trucks it is important to monitor wear which IS of primary importance for tyre maintenance/legal requirements/ and management. You also have the problem as to the accuracy of the internal pump which one might like to check after a year or so at least.
Now the actuality of inserting the electronics. We know that getting even the tiny RFID tag in has been a problem in embedding let alone anything bigger. I am not saying it is not possible to create tyres with all the gubbins but at what cost? And can it be done on a production line? AFAIR Pirelli was introducing tyres with piezo this year .... and I think they promised this a couple of years ago.
Also, when I load 4 people and their luggage in a car I am required to add 5psi to the rear tyres. How do you tell the pump what the correct pressure is? Or do I run on an intermediate pressure between the optimal for loaded and unloaded? How do they account for temperature variation?
The tyre industry has many projects and very very few actually make it - radial tyres being the huge exception. Changes in tyre tread and formula for the rubber do work but other than that think TWEEL, think of Michelins run-flat design, think of the claims for run-flat market penetration and the reality of how harsh they are and how few are actually fitted. And of their cost and weight. : )