HILTON HEAD, S.C.—Advanced vehicle technology is coming fast, and it will have a major impact on tire technology as well, according to speakers at the 35th Clemson University Global Tire Industry Conference held recently at Hilton Head, S.C.
Keynote speaker Chris Helsel, chief technology officer at Goodyear, said vehicle technology has undergone radical changes periodically throughout history.
"In the 1950s, automatic transmissions eliminated the clutch," Helsel said. "That was a big change, but I think you'll agree it turned out OK."
New trends in mobility, with changing consumer habits and original equipment manufacturer expectations, are in turn presenting new challenges to tire manufacturers, according to Helsel.
"We've been dealing with change all along," he said. Goodyear uses the acronym FACE—fleets, autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles and electric vehicles—to describe the forces driving change in mobility.
"Long-established companies are now in danger of not being leaders or even survivors," Helsel said.
To remain a leader, Goodyear has established cooperative projects with advanced mobility pioneer Tesloop and exhibited non-pneumatic tires on an Olli autonomous shuttle bus at the most recent Geneva Auto Show, Helsel said.
"Synergies will create more disruptions in the next 10 years than in the last 50," he said.
Jason Barr, team leader for digital twin and software engineering at Bridgestone Americas, said his company, like other tire makers, has to find new ways to bring value to its customers.