I’ll be the first to admit that tire pressure monitoring systems are a very good thing. Most drivers rarely, if ever, check tire pressure, and TPMS systems can at least give you a heads up if you’re about to have a flat tire or blowout. In the grand scheme of things, checking your tire pressure involves about as much time and energy as getting dressed in the morning. Somehow, we all manage to avoid walking around naked, yet we’re utterly incapable of remembering to check the air in our tires from time to time.
Not to worry, because Goodyear has us covered. The tire manufacturer is developing a line of – and I’m not making this up – self-monitoring, self-inflating tires. The concept is simple enough: sensors inside the tire detect a value below the tire’s optimal inflation pressure, and then trigger a compressor, also located inside the tire, until the correct pressure is reached. There’s no word on when such tires will hit the market, or how much they’ll cost, but Goodyear says they’re well along in the development phase, thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technology.
Really? Have we sunk to the point where we NEED self-inflating tires, and have the disposable income to pay for them? What about the engineering problems this idea introduces, such as greater unsprung weight and tire balancing problems? What happens when the compressor fails? How long will will such a tire last and how will it handle the type of wheel-devouring potholes found in the Northeast?
Sometimes, there is such a thing as “too much technology,” and a self-inflating tire is a prime example.
Source: Left Lane News