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Goodyear Proves It: We’re Too Lazy For Our Own Good

Posted in Car Tech, News, Tires by Kurt Ernst | August 14th, 2011 | 4 Responses |

The Goodyear Blimp. Image: Sao Paulo 1

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

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4 Responses

  1. Mark Smith says:

    Hmmm. Interesting, but putting this system in the tire?? It seems like it more properly belongs in the wheel where the weight of the system could be balanced out in the wheel construction phase (and where it is less likely to break off). On the plus side, power should be no problem. The rotating wheel could easily provide the power regeneration method.

  2. Corey says:

    Really?

    Let’s put it another way. Imagine you buy a phone. Imagine it has a display. Imagine that EVERY DAY, to make sure the display is the right level of brightness, you have to get out a little calibration device and measure the brightness, and then get a little machine and plug it in and let it bring the brightness up to the right level.

    Imagine that, every day, you are supposed to do this to keep your phone’s battery use at the optimal level. If you don’t do this every day, the screen might wear out too soon. You can’t just… USE your phone, you have to maintain it.

    Would you consider the app that came out to do this for you automatically to be an app for lazy people? Too much technology, you say!

    Me? I would throw my new phone against the wall and say “who invented a phone that requires this much maintenance every day?”

    Think about that.

  3. Taylor says:

    It’s not that We need self monitoring/adjusting tires, it’s that the companies are constantly looking for ways to take bullets out of the gun that We could possibly use in a lawsuit against them.