AKRON—Goodyear has expanded opportunities to gain insight into future tire development now that it has shored up a pair of partnerships with autonomous shuttle makers.
Mostly recently, the Akron-based tire maker has partnered with Local Motors Inc. to conduct tire testing for Olli, an eight-passenger autonomous shuttle brand. The company will supply Local Motors with an exclusive tire fitment for Olli vehicles, and will gain valuable data into the operational and maintenance needs of tires that are fitted on driverless vehicles.
"Our work on autonomous vehicle projects, such as the Olli, is another mile marker on our journey to future mobility solutions," Chris Helsel, Goodyear's chief technology office said in a news release. "We learn through pilot programs with leading startups, transferring advanced vehicle and ride-sharing data into truly usable and connected information to improve operating performance and benefit customers."
The Olli vehicle can be used at locations such as as the University of Michigan's Mcity Test Facility, a public-private research and development site of about 16 acres, opening avenues for testing and study.
Internationally, Goodyear is outfitting three autonomous shuttle buses operated by Sales-Lentz Group S.A. in Luxembourg. The tires are equipped with sensors to collect operational data in real-world application and are fitted on shuttles that carry as many as 14 passengers. Goodyear noted that its engineers and data scientists can use the collected data to map predictive maintenance and other benefits.
The tire maker operates two global innovation centers in Akron and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg.
Goodyear manufactures its products at 47 facilities and in 21 countries, employing about 64,000 worldwide.