Drivers often neglect properly inflating their tires, which damages the rubber, delivers poorer fuel mileage and poses a rollover risk.
Aiming to remedy that problem, Goodyear will field-test its new self-inflating tire next year. Self-inflating tires aren’t a new idea, in fact the company announced that it was working on the technology in 2011 through a process called “Air Maintenance Technology.” Those tires were tested with passenger cars, but now the company is also saying it will test the system for commercial trucks in 2013.
Despite trials moving to heavier vehicles, it has yet to be released for passenger vehicle use, but Goodyear’s latest announcement could signal that the project is closer to reaching production.
That’s because commercial trucks put tires through considerably more wear than, say, a typical family sedan would. Despite that, the company says its tired will withstand the more rugged use and will even withstand retreading.
It still isn’t clear if the tires will be sold on non-commercial vehicles or at all for that matter, but the data gleaned from the coming year’s tests will presumably bring that decision closer.
As the diagram above explains, the technology works through a three-part system. First, an internal regulator senses if the pressure is too low. If it is, a valve opens, allowing a tube inside the tire that gets squeezed during rotation to push more air in. Once optimal pressure is reached, the valve closes.