Would you be surprised to learn a 120-year-old company is transforming its business with artificial intelligence and technology? Akron, Ohio-based tyre maker Goodyear might not be the first company you think of when discussing technological innovation, but they continue to announce intriguing developments and offer proof via new initiatives and products that they are altering operations to be competitive in the future.
Regardless if it’s an autonomous, electric, or a traditional vehicle, they all need a solid foundation of the right tyre for the specific demands of the vehicle. Goodyear uses internet of things technology in its Eagle 360 Urban tyre. The tyre is 3D printed with super-elastic polymer and embedded with sensors. These sensors send road and tyre data back to the artificial intelligence-enhanced control panel that can then change the tread design to respond to current road conditions on the fly and share info about conditions with the broader network. If the tyre tread is damaged, the tyre moves the material and begins self-repair.
Goodyear’s intelligent tyres are in use on a new pilot programme with Redspher, a European transportation and logistics company operating in 19 countries. The fleet benefits from the tyre’s ability to monitor and track tyre pressure, vehicle data, and road conditions. This data is then analysed by Goodyear’s algorithms to gain insights about maintenance needs and ways to improve the safety and performance of the fleet.
Another tyre innovation from Goodyear is the Oxygene model, another 3D-printed tyre that has embedded sensors connected to the internet of things and also uses living moss and photosynthesis to power its electronics. The self-generated electricity powers onboard sensors, an AI-processing unit, as well as a light strip that illuminates when a driver brakes or changes lanes. The living moss feature may be unusual, but it shows the company’s commitment to pushing and pursuing solutions to help the environment and to be relevant in the future. The tyre is 3D printed from rubber powder from recycled tyres.
Goodyear is also at the forefront of providing tyres designed for the specific needs of electronic vehicles. Traditional tyres can wear up to 30% faster on electric vehicles according to the company’s testing. Goodyear’s Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 tyre was selected for Audi’s e-tron electric SUV.
B2C and B2B E-Commerce
In 2015, Goodyear was the first tyre manufacturer to offer tyres sales online to consumers. They followed that up in 2019 with GoodyearTruckTires. Com, an e-commerce solution for commercial tyre dealers.
AI Technology Provides Predictive Analytics
In addition to transportation and logistics companies such as Redspher leveraging Goodyear’s predictive analytics, car-sharing, and ride-hailing services stand to benefit from the company’s tyre maintenance programme. In a pilot programme with STRATIM, a company whose platform tracks and oversees fleet maintenance for more than 50 mobility services in North America, Goodyear’s technology and tyres will help maximise the fleet’s uptime.
With several partnerships, including with YourMechanic, Local Motors, and Envoy Technologies, Goodyear is rolling out its predictive tyre-servicing tools to a wider audience that touches on many of transportation’s hottest development areas including mobile car repair, autonomous vehicles, and car-sharing.
Investments for the Future
Goodyear announced a new $100 million venture fund called Goodyear Ventures at CES 2020. Dedicated to supporting startups that will facilitate “sustainable, safe, and new mobility experiences, ” the venture fund shows Goodyear’s commitment to bringing traditional and startup businesses together to propel solutions for the future.
The company also unveiled AndGo, a fleet vehicle servicing platform, that delivers continuous care to company fleets through routine inspections and tyre monitoring via Goodyear’s intelligent tyres, but also collects data to provide valuable predictive maintenance.
One of the pillars of Goodyear’s corporate responsibility mandate is the advancement of mobility-focused on connected, autonomous, and electric vehicles. Along with the company’s tyre innovation and proactive services programme, they are committed to making driving safer and more sustainable.
At the operational level, Goodyear has also leveraged the power of technology to increase its productivity. Goodyear is running an internet of things proof-of-concept using sensor data from the factory floor to inform maintenance needs. Investments in workplace modernization make Goodyear operations (in more than 150 countries, 48 manufacturing facilities and research and development centres in Germany, Luxembourg, China, and the United States) poised to innovate even faster in the future. The company is also exploring how Microsoft HoloLens and other technologies could impact virtual tyre modelling and design.