Alongside Jacksonville Transit Authority (JTA) and Beep, Local Motors debuted the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s non-pneumatic tires (NPTs) on the autonomous electric vehicle, Olli 2.0.
Non-pneumatic or “airless” tires distribute vehicles’ weight with a spoke or web design as opposed to the pressurized air that’s been the automotive standard for decades.
Based on product testing over the last three years, the NPTs have a variety of benefits that may be best realized in the low-speed autonomous vehicle use case. Michael Rachita, Senior Program Manager for Goodyear said, “It’s a product for its purpose. NPTs are designed for autonomous shuttles at low speeds often in an urban, college campus, or a national park setting. Let’s put the best products together to enable those.”
The airless tires innovative design has the potential to simplify maintenance for Olli 2.0 vehicles. With no risk of flat tires and no need to monitor tire pressure, the tire’s rubber compound will last longer and ease regular maintenance.
The Goodyear and Local Motors teams believe passengers will experience benefits from the NPTs as well. The NPTs are positioned to create smoother, quieter rides.
At the July press event, Local Motors’ President and COO, Vikrant Aggarwal, spoke to Jacksonville media about how LM’s lasting partnership with Goodyear makes Olli an innovative vehicle from the ground up.
“One of the things we focus on is, how do we sustain this partnership as the technology evolves? The Goodyear team has given us a great opportunity to continue adding to the Olli platform. There’s great potential in NPTs to improve the rider experience while bringing value to fleet managers. Goodyear has been an essential partner to LM for a long time,” said Aggarwal.
JTA will leverage it’s autonomous testing facility to collect additional data from Olli 2.0 as the NPT solution matures.
Nat Ford, CEO of Jacksonville Transit Authority, said,”This is a major accomplishment for the JTA and we’ve done that with the private sector….It’s imperitve for our employees,particularly those who work at Armsdale, our maintenance staff, and our mechanics, are given an opportunity to learn about every technology related to mobility. This is a signal the larger industry that Jacksonville is becoming a hub for automation and innovation.”
SOURCE: Local Motors