When was the last time you checked the air pressure of your tires? It is something that we are supposed to do pretty regularly – unfortunately most of us don’t. I remember looking at my tires the other day thinking that they could probably do with a little air – that was three weeks ago and I live in a country where most of the gas stations are still full-service. I wouldn’t need to lift a finger but it still seems like too much work. Fortunately for myself and those like me (I am sure that there are many) Goodyear has developed a novel tire air maintenance system that should cut down the amount of hassle involved.
Their Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) is a deceptively simple system that uses the rolling of the tire to pump in new air when needed. A rubber tube is embedded in the wall of the tire near the bead that mounts it onto the rim. As the tire is pressed onto the pavement by the weight of the vehicle, the tube is squeezed shut in a motion that follows the rotation of the tire, kind of like squeezing toothpaste along a tube. A pressure sensor inside the tire determines when more air is needed, and then opens a valve to let the air in thereby pumping up the tire. Once the correct pressure is reached, the valve shuts and the pressure is maintained.
At the moment, Goodyear is in the process of testing the technology with commercial trucks – if it works as planned then it shouldn’t be too long before the tires make their way into regular vehicles.