Although many people have heard of Michelin’s airless tire, they may be unaware that Goodyear jobs have also developed one. Furthermore, a modified version has been developed for use by ground-based delivery robots.
Goodyear’s non-pneumatic tire (NPT) incorporates a thermoplastic internal connective structure rather than an air chamber, similar to the Michelin tire. This flexes under load while remaining stiff enough to support the host vehicle’s weight. It is not the same as the previous airless tire developed by the company collaborating with NASA jobs.
According to a Goodyear representative, the NPT was available as an option on a third-party line of riding lawnmowers in 2017. Although that is no longer the case, it was successfully trialed on the Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s fleet of autonomous shuttles last July.
A scaled-down version of it has now been installed on a fleet of self-driving delivery robots operated by Goodyear-affiliated Starship Technologies. The new tire was created in response to a request from the startup, which wanted to increase the tire life of its six-wheeled robots while also lowering maintenance costs.
While Starship currently operates a global network of over 1,000 robots, the tire is currently being tested on a small fleet on the campus of Bowling Green State University in Ohio and maybe tested on amazon delivery jobs driving vehicles. The trial is already looking promising in terms of tread wear, braking performance, and vibration damping.
“We are excited to extend our unique airless tire architectures into new forms of mobility,” says Michael Rachita, Goodyear’s senior program manager, non-pneumatic tires. “The micro delivery space presents a different set of needs as it relates to the tire, and our NPT technology is ideal to meet those needs.”