These tires will be immune to punctures, since they feature an open design
Goodyear says these tires will be able to support more weight than regular tires
The company says it will target autonomous vehicles at first
For many years, tire manufacturers have teased airless tires and this time, it is Goodyear’s turn to do the same.
Unlike in most cases, these tires actually exist and their manufacturer really intends to mass produce them, although we are still many years away from being able to buy a set of them.
Goodyear claims the tires have completed over 75,000 miles (120,700 kilometers) of testing in Europe, many of which were driven by a Tesla Model 3.
Instead of an air chamber, the tires feature a web of rubber supports that maintain a regular looking tread around the rim. This makes them very distinctive since they are see-through when viewed from the side.
The most obvious advantage of having tires that don’t need to hold air is their resistance to punctures and the fact that getting stranded due to a flat tire is impossible. In addition, the manufacturer says they will be better at supporting heavy loads than regular tires.
Obviously, a totally new approach to tires will require a lot of time to be approved by the US Department of Transportation since they have to ensure their safety before they are allowed to be sold to the general public, which will probably take many years.
As of now, the company has tested the tires at speeds up to 100 mph (160 km/h) and under different conditions, ranging from a hot summer day to the dead of winter.
Once they arrive on the market, airless tires might not be readily available to the public either, since Goodyear wants to concentrate on autonomous vehicles at first.
This decision makes a lot of sense since these vehicles should require the least maintenance possible and having a flat tire is not a scenario they are programmed for, so their behavior is hard to predict in a blowout situation.
Goodyear’s airless tires seem to be the most promising avenue for this king of technology right now, but they won’t be the first to reach the market. Indeed, Polaris has been offering its ATVs with airless tires since 2013.