Non-pneumatic or “airless” tires distribute vehicles’ weight with a spoke or web design as opposed to the pressurized air that’s been the automotive standard for decades.
Based on product testing over the last three years, the NPTs have a variety of benefits that may be best realized in the low-speed autonomous vehicle use case. Michael Rachita, Senior Program Manager for Goodyear said, “It’s a product for its purpose. NPTs are designed for autonomous shuttles at low speeds often in an urban, college campus, or a national park setting. Let’s put the best products together to enable those.”
The airless tires innovative design has the potential to simplify maintenance for Olli 2.0 vehicles. With no risk of flat tires and no need to monitor tire pressure, the tire’s rubber compound will last longer and ease regular maintenance.
The Goodyear and Local Motors teams believe passengers will experience benefits from the NPTs as well. The NPTs are positioned to create smoother, quieter rides.
At the July press event, Local Motors’ President and COO, Vikrant Aggarwal, spoke to Jacksonville media about how LM’s lasting partnership with Goodyear makes Olli an innovative vehicle from the ground up.
“One of the things we focus on is, how do we sustain this partnership as the technology evolves? The Goodyear team has given us a great opportunity to continue adding to the Olli platform. There’s great potential in NPTs to improve the rider experience while bringing value to fleet managers. Goodyear has been an essential partner to LM for a long time,” said Aggarwal.
JTA will leverage it’s autonomous testing facility to collect additional data from Olli 2.0 as the NPT solution matures.
Nat Ford, CEO of Jacksonville Transit Authority, said,”This is a major accomplishment for the JTA and we’ve done that with the private sector….It’s imperitve for our employees,particularly those who work at Armsdale, our maintenance staff, and our mechanics, are given an opportunity to learn about every technology related to mobility. This is a signal the larger industry that Jacksonville is becoming a hub for automation and innovation.”
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority, an independent state agency serving Duval County, has multi-modal responsibilities. JTA designs and constructs bridges and highways and provides varied mass transit services. These include express and regular bus service, a downtown Skyway monorail, the St. Johns River Ferry, the Gameday Xpress for various sporting events at TIAA Bank FIeld, Paratransit for the disabled and elderly, and Ride Request on-demand services.
About JTA’s Ultimate Urban Circulator
In December 2016, the JTA Board approved the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) to move into project development using autonomous vehicles. U2C includes the conversion of the existing infrastructure and at-grade extensions into neighborhoods surrounding Downtown Jacksonville.
About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 62,000 people and manufactures its products in 46 facilities in 21 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. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.