Goodyear has developed a new self-inflating tire for commercial vehicles. The Air Maintenance Technology system uses an internal pressure regulator to determine when the tire is low. When pressure falls below a certain parameter, the regulator opens to allow air into a pumping tube. Here's the cool part: the tube runs around the circumference of the tire, and as tire rolls, it squeezes the tube, effectively forcing air into the tire through an inlet. Once the tire is properly inflated, the regulator closes off the pumping tube and the truck continues on its way without ever stopping or having to rely on an external compressor.

The benefits to an automatic inflation system are obvious. Vehicles with under-inflated tires use more fuel, have worse handling and chew through tread much quicker than their properly maintained counterparts.

Goodyear says implementing Air Maintenance Technology on commercial vehicles was particularly difficult due to the higher-than-normal pressures found on large truck tires. Most commercial vehicles run an average of 105 psi compared to the 32 psi of passenger cars. Check out the full press release below.
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Debut of Goodyear Self-Inflating Technology for Commercial Tires at the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) Commercial Vehicle Show

Goodyear technology can aid in fuel savings and CO2 reductions; potential to improve performance and eliminate need for external inflation pressure intervention.

AKRON, Ohio, Sept. 19, 2012 -- Over the past year, researchers at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE: GT) have been working on a new Air Maintenance Technology application that can aid in fuel savings and CO2 reductions while potentially improving performance and eliminating need for external inflation pressure intervention. The commercial application of Goodyear's Air Maintenance Technology will make its debut at the 2012 Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, Germany.

Tire-related costs are the single largest maintenance item for commercial vehicle fleet operators with more than 50 percent of all truck and trailer breakdowns involving a tire in some way[1]. Goodyear's Air Maintenance Technology mechanism allows tires to maintain constant, optimum pressure without the use of external pumps, electronics and driver intervention.

Proper tire inflation can result in improved fuel economy, prolonged tread life and optimized tire performance. Customers should receive the following key benefits from Air Maintenance Technology-enabled tires:

Improved Fuel Economy

Optimum tire pressure is key in the commercial market. It is estimated that for every 10 psi lost in tire inflation, there is a one percent[2] loss in miles per gallon.

While one percent may seem insignificant, it could cost a truck owner over $627.00 in fuel, based on a vehicle that has a fuel consumption of 6.6 miles per gallon, runs 100,000 miles a year with a diesel fuel price of $4.10/gallon[3].

Prolonged Tread Life

AMT is expected to play a major role in optimizing tread life in the commercial tire market. Tires which are under inflated by ten percent decrease tread life by 9-16 percent[4]. By utilizing Goodyear's Air Maintenance Technology, commercial vehicle fleet operators will be able to realize the full mileage potential of their tires, thus saving money by prolonging the use of their tires.

Optimized Performance

Properly inflated tires are also necessary to keep a vehicle's handling performance at optimal levels. Under-inflation means less evenly distributed pressure on the road. It also reduces the tread area that is in direct contact with the road and can impact the integrity of the tire casing, which is key to the retreading process.

Commercial trucks pose a different challenge for AMT than that of consumer vehicles as their tires are larger, have higher inflation pressures, drive longer distances and carry much heavier loads. Commercial tires operate at a higher air pressure, typically 105 psi for commercial tires vs. 32 psi for consumer tires. This is a much more challenging performance requirement for the pump system. The life of a commercial truck tire is often extended by retreading. The commercial truck AMT system is being designed to perform after the retreading process.

"We believe the Air Maintenance Technology application for commercial vehicle tires will not only enhance the performance of the tire, but will also provide cost savings to fleet owners and operators through the extension of tire tread life and increased fuel economy" stated Goodyear's Chief Technical Officer, Jean-Claude Kihn. "The progress we continue to make with this technology is very encouraging. We look forward to further testing of this concept."
Engineers at Goodyear's Innovation Center in Akron, Ohio, USA are credited with the development of the commercial application of this concept and the supporting technology. Prototype tires have been produced in Goodyear's Topeka manufacturing plant in Kansas, USA, and rigorous validation testing has confirmed that the AMT pumping mechanism works. An extensive fleet trial is planned to gather real-world information from customers in 2013.

A $1.5 million grant from The United States Department of Energy's Office (DOE) of Vehicle Technology is helping speed up research, development and demonstration of the AMT system for commercial vehicle tires. A grant from the Luxembourg government for research and development will continue to help fund Goodyear's efforts in researching and developing the AMT system for consumer tires.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Goodyear says implementing Air Maintenance Technology on commercial vehicles was particularly difficult due to the higher-than-normal pressures found on large truck tires." This makes it seem like making it for passenger cars is/was easy? I would love to see this on passenger cars as well, because we can all benefit from efficiency both at the pump and from the other cars around us being safer.
      NAIF S
      • 2 Years Ago
      Passenger tires need this also. The goodyears on mama"s car change pressure every time the outside temp changes.
      Mr. Quiggles
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wouldn't you still need to top off the pressurized chamber once in a while?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mr. Quiggles
        The inflation system works off of the motion of the tire and the weight of the truck.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pretty awesome, this is revolutionary. -Chris
      Jim R
      • 2 Years Ago
      Goodyear tires are generally craptastic (unless you're going for top-tier), but I have to admit this is pretty trick.
      • 2 Years Ago
      That is awesome. Two questions: how much? And. Can you find a way to stop those monster tire blowouts? There are huge chunks of tractor trailer tires that end up on highways that can cause fatal accidents and damage to the cars undercarriage.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @NY EVO X MR GUY
        The blowouts are often due to cheaply done retreads. About the only ways I can think of to prevent that are to put much stricter standards on retreads, or to ban them entirely, and the trucking industry will howl about increased costs if you try it.
        James Brotz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @NY EVO X MR GUY
        tire inflation systems have been available for years probably a lot cheeper than this tire will end up being per mile . Also the "aligaters on the road are about 50/50 new and retreads and are caused by running underinflated tires NOT poor Retreading as many would think Ive only had one retread separate in several million miles of driving but have had 2 passanger /LT tires do it at full Pressure
      Seth Van Heuklon
      • 2 Years Ago
      For over-the road truckers, I think this is probably a nice safety feature, albeit it would be good to understand the cost delta between this and existing tires with proper maintenance. The military and offroad markets have been using CTIS (Central Tire Inflation System) for decades, albeit with pumps as the inflation is done moving or stationary on those applications. CTIS is nice as the system is plumbed through the existing tire valve in the wheel, giving you freedom on tire choices still. I think it's an interesting new flavor of how to do TIS for one application. I would not however call it revolutionary. It's an evolutionary development and branching out from existing concepts in my opinion.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Seth Van Heuklon
        I'm going to disagree with you. The central inflation you are talking about is for inflating for road use ajd deflatng for off road use. The idea of maintaining a particular inflation for efficiency really isn't the overarching goal. Remember that those swoopy front ends of semi's saves millions of gallons of fuel per year. This could be the next big step to saving millions or billions more.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Self inflating ? so I guess it will never have low PSI. No a bad idea but then wouldn't this hide if there is a problem with the tire? Usually when a tire has a slow leak or rip the tire will lose air or become flat letting you kno there is a issue with it. But if this tire keeps blowing itself back up how will you ever know unless you inspect them ?
        Vien Huynh
        • 2 Years Ago
        The engineers should have thought about that already, but maybe there not enough information in this article.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Vien Huynh
          you're cute :) are you in the US?
        • 2 Years Ago
        If there is an underlying problem, a hole in the tire or some such, then at least the self-inflation system will insure the truck gets to safety. Better to have gotten to your destination, and find your tire(s) leaking than to have your tire go flat on you in the middle "no man's land".
        Derek Ziemba
        • 2 Years Ago
        As long as the tire stays inflated, does it really matter?
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wasn't there a company a few years back that already pioneered this technology? Maybe Good Year bought the rights?
      • 2 Years Ago
      I completely agree with Drakkon! This is amazing and it is so about time something like this was available! So convenient! Hoping I can get them soon!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another one of thos ideas that is fifty year overdue.
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