Ask the folks at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and you’re likely to hear that the days of manually adding air to under-inflated tires will soon be a distant memory. This is thanks to a new technology in development called Air Maintenance Technology (AMT).
Goodyear, one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers, states that AMT will enable tires to remain inflated at the optimum pressure without the need for any external pumps or electronics. Of interest, 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 in a press announcement.
AMT also has green and fuel-efficiency pluses. Government and industry researchers report that either passenger vehicles or commercial trucks will realize a fuel mileage increase of between 2.5 and 3.3 percent if tires remain properly inflated. At today’s prices, that translates to about 12 cents per gallon at the pump. In addition, properly inflated tires should result in lower emissions, while extending the life of the tires.
The system, which is currently in development, would automatically keep tires topped up to their proper air pressures.
All of the electronic and mechanical components would be contained within the tires themselves, running off of power that is generated from the rolling motion of the tires. 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.
No announcement has been made on when AMT will be commercially available. Current research has been funded with a $1.5 million grant from the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technology, plus another grant from the government of Luxembourg.
Goodyear indicates there have been self-inflating tire systems before, but few have been fully contained within the tire, let alone powered by it. Gizmag writes that one exception is Czech-based CODA Development’s SIT system, which uses a built-in peristaltic pump to continuously keep tires from getting soft.
Goodyear 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.
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