The ultimate debut of self-driving taxis and driverless cars could hint that there will be a more significant requirement for puncture-resistant tyres
Airless tyre manufacturers such as Japan’s Bridgestone Corp expect that autonomous driving will indicate a development for their technology. Even though it is very dated but underperforms most of the standard tyres in every manner (except for reluctance to puncture). The ultimate debut of self-driving taxis and driverless cars could hint that there will be a more significant requirement for puncture-resistant tyres because substantial usage of transportations uncovers them to more flat tyres.
Atsushi Ueshima of Bridgestone stated at the biennial Tokyo Motor Show “In the past, a car would be driven about 20% of the time and spend the other 80% in the garage. In the age of shared, autonomous vehicles, it will be the opposite, and preventing breakdowns will be a top priority.” In addition to that, the first prototype was displayed by France’s Michelin in 2005 on a wheelchair and the commercial launch happened in 2012. However, the usage of this technology is mostly limited to golf carts and ride-on lawnmowers.
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Hino Motors Ltd, a Toyota Group truckmaker, displayed a perception of the future where people-to-parcel movers use airless tyres, which holds its own design. At the earlier event in 2017, the brand also revealed a hydrogen-powered concept car equipped with Sumitomo Rubber Industries prototypes. A joint research agreement has been announced by Michelin and General Motors Co that aims to have airless tyres by as early as 2024 on passenger cars.
Hiroshi Ohigashi of Sumitomo Rubber stated at the motor show “There will definitely be demand for airless tyres for commercial vehicles in the future, but making something that can support that weight is a really huge obstacle.” Even if the cost of manufacturing such tyres will be higher compared to pneumatic tyres, both Bridgestone and Sumitomo Rubber hopes the solution can be a gradual shift to mass production.