Goodyear trials airless tire technology on delivery bots

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In a recent press release, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced that it is testing custom-engineered non-pneumatic tires (NPT) to support Starship delivery robots. In previous years, Goodyear has developed other NPTs, which have been tested on various vehicles, including the Tesla Model 3 and the Olli shuttle.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What's special about the NPTs Goodyear developed for Starship Technologies?

    Goodyear's NPTs developed for Starship were designed to extend tire life and reduce maintenance activities for the last-mile delivery fleet.
  • Where are Goodyear and Starship testing the airless tires?

    According to Goodyear, the in-field testing phase is taking place at Bowling Green State University.
  • This custom-engineered NPT was designed specifically to meet Starship’s request related to tire health and maintenance. These airless tires have been made to extend tire life and reduce maintenance activities for Starship’s delivery fleet.

    “We are excited to extend our unique airless tire architectures into new forms of mobility. The micro delivery space presents a different set of needs as it relates to the tire and our NPT technology is ideal to meet those needs to help enable a maintenance-free and long-lasting experience,” said Goodyear Senior Program Manager for Non-Pneumatic Tires Michael Rachita.

    Goodyear and Starship have entered an in-field testing phase at Bowling Green State University to study vehicle and tire dependencies. Early on-vehicle tire testing data shows positive results in terms of treadwear, braking, and vibration dampening.

    Starship Technologies was launched in 2014 by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis. The company, headquartered in San Francisco, builds and operates a network of over 1,000 last-mile autonomous robots that carry and deliver packages, groceries, and food directly to customers.

    “Our delivery robots make thousands of deliveries every day in all types of weather conditions and terrain. To make sure we can keep up with the growing demand for our services, we need tires that are reliable and keep our robots on the move around the clock and around the globe. It’s great to see these new tires offering reliability as well as cost savings as we scale our business,” commented Starship Technologies Mechanical Engineering Manager Siim Viilup.

    Photo from Goodyear

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