Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is expanding its ongoing work with autonomous or driverless vehicles, which includes being named the exclusive tire supplier for a leading autonomous passenger shuttle.
Goodyear has teamed with Arizona-based Local Motors to conduct tire testing with an Olli, the brand name of an eight-passenger autonomous shuttle. Local Motors has also selected Goodyear tires for exclusive fitment on its Olli vehicles.
Adding the vehicle to its testing fleet allows Goodyear to use it for advanced mobility evaluation at various locations, including the University of Michigan’s Mcity Test Facility, the public-private research and development site with about 16 acres of roads and traffic infrastructure.
“Our work on autonomous vehicle projects, such as the Olli, is another mile marker on our journey to future mobility solutions. We learn through pilot programs with leading startups, transferring advanced vehicle and ride-sharing data into truly usable and connected information to improve operating performance and benefit customers,” said Chris Helsel, Goodyear’s chief technology officer.
The test work with autonomous vehicles allows Goodyear to study the operation and maintenance areas that need to be addressed when there is no driver at the controls. This includes future tire technology options for such vehicles.
Additionally, in Luxembourg, where it operates one of its two global innovation centers, Goodyear is outfitting three autonomous shuttle buses. The vehicles, operated by bus company Sales-Lentz, will shuttle up to 14 passengers per ride on a variety of local routes.
On the three shuttles, Goodyear tires are equipped with sensors to collect operational data in the real-world application, which Goodyear engineers and data scientists can use to map predictive maintenance and other performance benefits.