Goodyear develops a tire that inflates itself

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Could a flat tire become a thing of the past? Image: Marufish/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Goodyear announced in a press release Monday that it will be developing a tire that not only detects when its pressure is low, it will inflate itself for peak performance and safety. The company has not mentioned a time frame when the technology will become available to consumers. Goodyear is calling the new system Air Maintenance Technology or AMT.

Tire contains miniature pump

The Akron, Ohio-based manufacturer said that each of the new tires will contain a monitoring system to track its own pressure as well as a miniaturized pump to keep the pressure optimized. The inflation device is powered by the rotation of the tires themselves.

Save motorists gas money

In addition to their convenience, the new tires will save motorists on gas. According to Goodyear, driving on under-inflated tires can lower fuel economy by as much as 3.3 percent.

Research funded by grants

Because of its effect on fuel economy, the Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technology has awarded Goodyear a $1.5 million research grant to develop a commercial truck version. The consumer version of the AMT technology is being developed with a grant from the Luxembourg government.

Soon to become indispensable

Goodyear predicts that the new technology will soon become indispensable. The company’s vice president, Jean-Claude Kihn, said:

“This will become the kind of technological breakthrough that people will wonder how they ever lived without.”

Not the first to develop technology

While the technology is groundbreaking, Goodyear is not the first manufacturer to pursue it. The Czech company Coda Development worked on a similar product back in 2008. The company unveiled its Self Inflating Tire system at the SAE World Congress in Detroit, where it won the Tech Award.

Before this, the nearest thing on the market to a self-maintaining tire was the Run-Flat Tire. Those tires allow a driver to continue driving for an additional 50 to 100 miles after a tire is punctured.

Goodyear has not announced how much the new technology will increase the cost of the average tire. The company has also not given a date when the technology will be available to consumers. It says, however, that because of the research  and development grants it has received, the wait will be shorter than otherwise been expected.

Europe developing a version

The European Union also plans to fund research into its own version of the technology. The move was prompted by a recent study that showed 71 percent of European motorists were driving on under-inflated tires.

Sources

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