The tires have an inflation device inside each of them that keeps track of their inflation and add air as necessary. The innovation by the Akron, Ohio tiremaker should also save its owners money as under-inflated tires decrease fuel economy by up to 3.3%.
Although Goodyear is not marketing the new tire directly to women, long ago it aired one of the most sexist ads ever to hawk a tire that was supposed to keep little ladies from having to endure changing a tire. We've got a copy below.
Goodyear says its Air Maintenance Technology will help everyone, male or female, by enabling tires to remain inflated at the optimum pressure without the need for any external pumps or electronics. All components of the AMT system, including the miniaturized pump, will be part of the tire itself.
A tire that can maintain its own inflation is something drivers have wanted for many years, according to Goodyear. The closest tire companies have come up to know are run-flat tires, which allow the driver to keep driving for between 50 and 100 miles after a puncture as long as the side wall of the tire is not compromised. Such events usually happen when a car runs over a curb or hits an especially bad pothole.
Goodyear did not provide an estimate as to when this technology would be available at tire retailers, but said the timetable would be pushed up because of government research grants. The Department of Energy's Office of Vehicle Technology awarded a $1.5-million research grant for a commercial truck application.
Technology that keeps vehicles with flats on the road has been a driving force in tire innovation for several years. It has become a "safety and security" measure that is meant to appeal expecially to women consumers who express a high degree of anxiety about getting a flat and being stranded in out of the way places.
Goodyear used to market to this market dynamic much more directly than it does today. Have a look at this ad, from around 1970 or so in which the company markets its Polyglass tires to women and to husbands who the ad was aimed at: The key phrase: "When a woman's at the wheel, polyglass means more than mileage."
Perhaps it was an ad for its time. But looking at it now, it seems like one of the most sexist ads of the last fifty years.