- Non-pneumatic Airless Tire on one of the Autonomous Shuttles (Image from DCI)

JAX and Goodyear Have Teamed Up For Testing A New Airless Tire

Jacksonville, FL and Goodyear Tires have come together to test non-pneumatic tires. Below are the details.

Jacksonville, Florida and Goodyear Tire partnered together after the company developed a non-pneumatic and wheel assembly. Jacksonville will be used as the testing grounds for this new airless tire as per the approval of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. This all came to light on July 13, 2021. What will these tires be installed on? Autonomous vehicles that will shuttle people around the city. The details are as follows. For the full report, here is the link.

About the Non-Pneumatic Tires

"...will give us..."

Non-pneumatic tires, also called NPTs, "are airless tires that use a unique structure of spokes and eliminate the need to be inflated. They are more sustainable, require less maintenance, and last longer than traditional tires." (DCI) I know that the structure and all look crazy when looking at the tire and assembly, but it is not like we haven't seen this set-up before. We have caught glimpses of it in the past from other media outlets. We may have our reservations about this new tire but the tests that will take place in Jacksonville will give us the information and data we need to know to make a decision.

About And What To Expect With Testing These NPTs

"...will be tested..."

"For the past three years, Goodyear and Local Motors have tested an Olli shuttle supported by the NPT at Goodyear testing facilities and other locations reaching several performance targets with respect to load, speed, and durability. In 2019, Goodyear pivoted its NPT concentration to on-road testing and a growing relationship with Local Motors. While this testing phase will reveal more about non-pneumatic tires, airless tires may offer sustainable, maintenance-free, and longer-lasting options. The urban transportation environment provides an ideal testing scenario for the alternative tire architecture given its lower speed and less variable travel paths. Goodyear and Local Motors will gather experiential data from the JTA, looking for viewpoints on ride comfort, noise, and other variables." "'Testing with best-in-class software and technology partners is enabling the JTA to lead globally in readiness for the use of autonomous platform in an urban environment. We are excited for the opportunity to extend the Test & Learn program with the JTA, Goodyear, and Local Motors to prove out the use of other innovations such as the Goodyear airless tires, as this will only further transform transportation as we know it,' said Joe Moye, Beep CEO." Just like everything we have known about research and development, Goodyear, as well as the mentioned companies that are working together with Goodyear, seem to take a serious note to make sure these tires will be tested to what we believe is a good tire and maybe even make that belief change into something we can expect more out of their product.

What is Local Motors?

"...a few pics..."

"Local Motors designs, manufactures, and deploys next-generation vehicles. Founded in 2007 with a belief in open collaboration, Local Motors began low-volume vehicle manufacturing of open-source designs utilizing a microfactory model. Since its inception, Local Motors has debuted no less than three world firsts: the world’s first co-created vehicle, the world’s first 3D-printed car, and the world’s first co-created, autonomous, electric vehicle, Olli. We believe that Olli is the answer to a sustainable, accessible mobility solution for all." Local Motors is the company whose vehicles (Olli shuttle) will have the NPTs will be installed and used for the testing. If you see any of these driving around the city, you know what they're for. Take a few pics and share them.

What is Beep?

"...sort of like..."

"Beep delivers the next generation of mobility services utilizing driverless, electric, multi-passenger vehicles. By specializing in planning, deploying, and managing advanced autonomous shuttles for both private and public communities, Beep safely connects people, places, and services in first-mile, last-mile mobility networks. Beep also leverages the data and learnings from its public road deployments to produce vehicle agnostic, edge solutions meant to enhance safety, access, artificial-intelligence, and driverless operating capabilities of autonomous platforms. Beep delivers on a primary goal of enabling mobility-for-all with the services and software they provide." As it seems, Beep is sort of like an Uber or Lyft service but for services such as shuttle buses of the likes except for the fact that everything is indeed autonomous.

Jacksonville Transportation Authority and Their Involvement

"...tire and progress..."

"'The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is proud to integrate this innovative and sustainable technology into our Autonomous Vehicle Test & Learn program as we develop the future of mobility through the Ultimate Urban Circulator,' said JTA CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. 'This collaboration is another example of how Jacksonville is leading the public transportation industry in developing AV mobility solutions.'" (Goodyear) "JTA’s partnership with Goodyear stems from Jacksonville’s overarching Ultimate Urban Circulator program, designed to turn the city’s 2.5-mile Skyway monorail into a 10-mile AV system within the city. Florida’s dedication to embracing AV technology through legislative support and a positive regulatory environment was a crucial factor in Goodyear’s decision in choosing Jacksonville for the pilot program. Using autonomous vehicles in the region will bring even more accessible local transit to downtown areas and create connectivity across the city for people to easily get around." (DCI) What is exciting to know is that of all places, Jacksonville is the place selected for testing. All I know about the city is that the Jaguars' home field is there and is located in Florida. Now, it is a city that is helping the R&D of a new type of tire and progress "the wheel" as some people would say. Kudos to the city of Jacksonville.

My Thoughts

"...will stay optimistic..."

For me, I am excited to know that the tire, or the wheel, in this case, is being updated to possibly become better than what we have now. Maybe in the future, we will never have to worry about catching a flat tire, or not getting an even amount of traction. The one thing I could worry about is the pricing of the new tire. How much will it cost per tire? What will the warranties be like? And will Goodyear be able to make this tire have a long life as well as great road comfort? Right now, I have tons of questions that can wait to be answered after the testing and data are completed and reviewed. For now, I will stay optimistic for the refreshed wheel.

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I would like to take a moment and thank DCI for this opportunity in giving me the news and information going on with this testing that is taking place in Jacksonville, Florida.

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Comments (5)

  • These tyres have been out for ages I have seen them on certain ride on mowers but they are really expensive compared to regular tyres.

      6 days ago
    • Indeed. But now they're being tested on road cars. And I'm sure they're expensive as all Hell.

        6 days ago
  • Great write up as always, Charles.

    I'm not supposed to say much about this but that autonomous vehicle looks just like the upcoming GM autonomous vehicle. My Dad designed a washer system to clear off the sensors. HIGH pressure. If the sensors can't see they can't function so this uses a high pressure stream to clean them off. But the box shaped vehicle is the same. It's not designed for road use necessarily. Airports and other places of the like is it's primary target as well as inter-city transport. Should be interesting to call a shuttle and have one arrive in front of you with no one driving. Welcome to the 21st Century!

      7 days ago
  • @tribe New article is finally up! What do you think?

      7 days ago
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