AKRON—Goodyear announced it is opening a new office in Sunnyvale, Calif., to keep its engineers and other professionals close to the latest developments in vehicle trends and technology. It isn't in Detroit or any other region normally associated with car production in the United States; it's in California's Silicon Valley.
In announcing the new office on Sept. 1, Goodyear said it was heading to the valley "to connect with auto makers, suppliers and mobility-related startups working on the next generations of vehicles and service models."
The company says its initial focus on Silicon Valley will be finding ways to make better ties and services for autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing fleets. It also wants to work on ways to use tire and vehicle data to help customers plan for tire replacement and service.
But, perhaps most importantly, the company said it is seeking "to connect with leaders in the automotive industry, to accelerate its own innovation platforms."
"People don't immediately associate tires with the digital transformation in the automotive industry," Chris Helsel, Goodyear's chief technology officer, said in a statement. "But we see an unprecedented opportunity for tire electronics and information systems to improve vehicle performance, safety and, ultimately, the consumer experience."
Goodyear did not disclose the size of the office that is located at the Plug and Play Tech Center. Goodyear says this is "the world's largest global technology accelerator and venture fund."
The firm is a founding member of Plug and Play's mobility platform, which was launched in 2016.
"Our goal is to build smarter, connected products and services for future generations of vehicles and business models," Helsel said. "We are open for business in the Silicon Valley to connect with the best and brightest thinkers around the future of mobility."
Goodyear already has innovation centers in Akron and Luxembourg.