In August 2011, Goodyear revealed that it was developing a self-inflating tire that was essentially a tire with a miniaturized pump inside it that kept it (the tire) inflated to its proper pressure at all times. A little over a year has passed and the American tiremaker has debuted the commercial application of the system at the 2012 Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung Commercial Vehicle Show.
Known as Air Maintenance Technology, Goodyear's system allows the tires to "maintain constant, optimum pressure without the use of external pumps, electronics and driver intervention."
The system works through an internal regulator that senses when the tire inflation pressure has dropped below the pre-specified pressure. The regulator then opens to allow airflow into the pumping tube. As the tire rolls, the deformation of the tire flattens the tube, pushing the air through the tire into the inlet valve. The air then flows into the tire cavity, resulting in optimized tire pressure.
According to Goodyear, proper tire inflation can result in improved fuel economy, prolonged tread life, and optimized tire performance. With its Air Maintenance Technology, the tiremaker hopes that commercial vehicle fleet operators will be able to realize the full mileage potential of their tires, thereby saving money by prolonging the use of their tires.
"We believe the Air Maintenance Technology application for commercial vehicle tires will not only enhance the performance of the tire, but will also provide cost savings to fleet owners and operators through the extension of tire tread life and increased fuel economy," said Goodyear chief technical officer Jean-Claude Kihn. "The progress we continue to make with this technology is very encouraging. We look forward to further tests of this concept."