LONDON—The automotive industry likely will shift from selling and servicing vehicles to become a mobility industry that offers transportation solutions for people and goods, according to a study released recently by Smithers.
The study, titled "Impact of Autonomous Vehicles in Tires to 2029," notes how electrification, autonomous vehicle technology and shared mobility are leading to the evolution of tire technology and redefining the vehicle market.
There are, however, significant hurdles to overcome before full AVs can be widely adopted. These vehicles will make up a relatively small part of new vehicle sales, and an even smaller part of the global vehicle parc by 2029.
Small shuttles, delivery vans and truck platooning are possible exceptions. In relation, the number of tires supplied for AV vehicles by 2029 will be small and predominately original equipment, according to the Smithers report.
By 2029, Smithers said, the number of tires for autonomous vehicles will reach 389 million, accounting for passenger cars, light trucks, light commercial vehicle and truck/bus tires. The value of these tires are expected to be more than $47 billion, and should account for about 15 percent of the predicted PC/LT/LCV + T&B tire market volume in 2029.
Smithers conducted a survey of opinions on whether AVs will advance the use of extended mobility tires, and if so, which option—runflat or self sealing—will be used.
While not essential for AVs, non-pneumatic tires are puncture proof and offer extended mobility and less maintenance. They may benefit AVs used in urban environments, especially autonomous taxi fleets, noted Smithers.
However, the poll revealed mixed expectations from industry respondents, including the viewpoint from a significant number that more careful tire use by AVs will reduce failure and decrease the need for extended mobility solutions.
Meanwhile, a collaboration between GM and Michelin is planning to begin commercial sales of an electric car with an airless tire. Uptis, a development of Michelin's Tweel—is expected by 2024 and a fully autonomous version is slated to follow.
If successful, such moves eventually will have a major impact on tire technology, including materials, construction methods and equipment and after-sales service, according to the research report.
The study went on to forecast that the penetration of EV and AV technologies would vary significantly between regions as political considerations play a strong role in introducing the necessary legislation.