AKRON—Goodyear wants smarter tires, so it's sending them to Case Western Reserve University.
The Akron-based tire maker is teaming up with Case Western's Weatherhead School of Management to sponsor a design and innovation competition that the company hopes will “redefine the tire for the Internet of Things.”
Dubbed “The Goodyear Innovation Challenge,” the competition is inviting teams of four or five business-school graduates, from any school, to participate. Teams must submit an “intelligent tire business case” by Monday, Oct. 10—following guidelines in Goodyear's design brief, provided online. Then, five teams will be selected to compete in a two-day hackathon at Case Western's center for innovation and entrepreneurship, known as think[box], beginning Thursday, Nov. 10.
Students are being challenged to “design a service by validating user needs, brainstorming concepts, prototyping the best fit, and developing ‘back of the envelope' business model calculations,” promoters said.
“This is not like the typical app development contest,” said Case Western Reserve design and innovation professor Youngjin Yoo. “We are seeing a moment where an industry is literally being reimagined. It is as real as it gets when it comes to digital innovation.”
It's all about making tires smarter and better able to communicate information to the car and its user—beyond mere things like tire pressure.
“There is no question that you can improve vehicle performance by adding intelligence to tires—it's already happening,” said Jim Euchner, vice president of global innovation at Goodyear. “The question is what are you sensing, and how do you integrate that data with the vehicle in a way that adds value not only for the automaker, but also for the driver.”
A jury of Goodyear executives and Weatherhead professors will select the first-, second- and third-place winners for awards of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000. In addition, first-place team members will have the opportunity to interview for a position on Goodyear's global innovation team.