Product reviews, deals and the latest tech news

Goodyear and Gatik claim that tyre technology is crucial for bringing AVs to winter climates

When people are behind the wheel, their vehicles become an extension of their bodies; we can really feel the tyres spinning on slick pavement. Most AV testing and deployment takes place in warm areas since autonomous cars do not have the same sensory capacities as human drivers.

Canadian startup Gatik, which develops autonomous trucks, speculates that tire-sensing data might pave the way for driverless vehicles on snowy roads. Gatik is collaborating with the industry-leading tyre manufacturer Goodyear to demonstrate the effectiveness of intelligent tyres in estimating tire-road friction and feeding that information back to Gatik’s autonomous driving system in real time.

Chris Helsel, Goodyear’s senior vice president global operations and chief technology officer, said in a statement, “The tyre is the only part of the vehicle that touches the ground, and this new level of data sophistication can communicate vital information to the vehicle, enhancing safety and performance.” This is just another development in the tire’s evolution to become a hub for data and information in addition to performing its conventional function.

In an announcement made at CES 2023, the businesses said they have begun using Goodyear’s SightLine technology in Canada to detect road friction. Tire sensor data, such as mileage, load, inflation pressure, and temperature, were compared in real time with other vehicle data and actual road conditions during deployment. After gathering this data, Goodyear’s cloud-based proprietary algorithms were used to calculate the friction coefficient. Goodyear said that their friction estimations accurately identified poor grip circumstances throughout the testing, such as snowy or icy roads.

Later on, Goodyear hopes to have the friction estimations sent back to Gatik’s autonomous fleet to aid in route planning and to advise on things like maximum allowable speeds, acceleration limits, and following distances.

Better identification of icy roads and perhaps automated driving are only the beginning of what SightLine may achieve. In 2023, Goodyear plans to roll out the technology on “chosen original equipment cars.” In addition to gathering data on hazards like potholes, tyre technology may report on the tire’s overall condition.

Tactile Mobility, an Israeli business, claimed in 2021 that their technology could assess tyre grip estimate and tyre health, therefore Goodyear Ventures and Porsche Ventures made a strategic investment in the company. Goodyear’s lack of response leaves it unclear whether or not the two companies worked together to create SightLine.