AKRON — Goodyear has struck tire supply deals with two autonomous vehicle developers that it expects will yield insight into tire development for this emerging transportation mode.
The deal with Local Motors involves the Arizona company's Olli eight-passenger autonomous shuttle vehicles, which are capable of operating at speeds up to 25 mph with a range of up to 40 miles, depending on load.
Goodyear will supply Local Motors with an exclusive tire fitment — which it declined to identify — for Olli vehicles with an eye toward collecting data on the operational and maintenance needs of tires fitted on driverless vehicles.
"Our work on autonomous vehicle projects, such as the Olli, is another mile marker on our journey to future mobility solutions," Chris Helsel, Goodyear's chief technology office, said.
"We learn through pilot programs with leading startups, transferring advanced vehicle and ride-sharing data into truly usable and connected information to improve operating performance and benefit customers."
The Olli vehicle can be used at locations such as as the University of Michigan's Mcity Test Facility, a public-private research and development site of about 16 acres, opening avenues for testing and study.
In Luxembourg — where Goodyear operates one of its two global innovations centers — the company is providing tires for three autonomous shuttle buses operated by Sales-Lentz Group, a transportation and events company that already operates some driverless shuttles throughout the country that can accommodate up to 14 passengers.
Sales-Lentz is planning to run three routes with its AV shuttles.
Goodyear noted that its engineers and data scientists can use the collected data to map predictive maintenance and other benefits.