Tire manufacturing giant Goodyear has developed new technology that allows tires to inflate themselves. Drivers who choose to equip their vehicles with Goodyear tires with Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) will have no need to keep a tire gauge handy, and trips to the gas station air-compressor will become a thing of the past.
While the physical mechanics of a self-inflating tire are complicated, the basic idea behind the principal is simple. AMT is basically a mini air compressor contained within the tire itself. The compressor is powered by essentially converting the rolling energy of the tire into electricity. While extreme off road vehicles like the Hummer H1 have featured on-board compressors for a long time, Goodyear's new technology is the first unit that is fully contained with the tire itself. There are no external hoses, compressors, or power sources involved with AMT.
According to AAA, over 80 percent of cars have at least one tire that is underinflated. While one low tire may not seem like a big deal, it an have a serious impact on your wallet. According to government research from the United States Department of Energy, underinflated tires can create a 2.5 - 3.3 percent decrease in fuel efficiency, as much as 12 cents per gallon. If left uncorrected, it can cost drivers some real money.
While Goodyear doesn't know when the tires will be available on the commercial market, the date has been accelerated thanks to new grants from United States and European governments. Goodyear is very excited about this development, and hopes that drivers will embrace the technology. "A tire that can maintain its own inflation is something drivers have wanted for many years. Goodyear has taken on this challenge and the progress we have made is very encouraging," said Kihn. "This will become the kind of technological breakthrough that people will wonder how they ever lived without."