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Goodyear prepares for future mobility

With its unique spherical autonomous vehicle tire concept recently revealed at Geneva and a new automotive innovation campus being established in Luxembourg, Goodyear plans to accelerate its contribution to future mobility solutions through the development of smart products


Goodyear has revealed its plans to establish a new automotive campus in collaboration with the Luxembourg government and IEE, a developer of automotive sensors. The Luxembourg Automotive Campus, located on land currently occupied by Goodyear’s former wire plant in Bissen, will provide state-of-the-art facilities to companies involved in innovation for the automotive sector. The first of these brand-new, customized buildings, covering an area of 14ha in total, will be operational by mid-2018.

“The creation of the Automotive Campus will foster business growth opportunities within the European automotive sector for Goodyear, its campus partners and the country of Luxembourg. As a founding partner and one of the first to locate a new facility at the Automotive Campus, Goodyear looks forward to collaborating with other progressive companies on the design, testing and incubation of new concepts,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, president of Goodyear EMEA.

It will accommodate an estimated 1,500 Luxembourg-based employees incorporating research and development experts as well as procurement, manufacturing, supply chain, finance and treasury, HR, IT, legal and communications.

Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg’s minister of the economy, said, “The Luxembourg Automotive Campus will provide equipment, and [will provide] service professionals from the automotive sector with new tools and infrastructure that will allow them to remain dynamic – and therefore innovative and competitive – in a market in constant evolution.

“With the ability to ultimately accommodate 4,000 people, the campus will be the future shop front for the sector and will make Luxembourg the destination of choice for automotive suppliers.”

Meanwhile, the company has introduced the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 UHP summer tire, which is said to offer extremely high levels of grip on wet and dry roads. It is the result of more than 36,000 engineering hours including over 5,000 tests – 1,200 tests on the road and 3,800 on five test locations in five countries, covering a total of 330,000km.

A key feature of the tire is Goodyear’s active braking technology, which increases the contact patch under braking. The tire’s tread pattern features longer blocks on the shoulder, also increasing grip. Meanwhile, a new compound contains adhesive resin for stickiness and the reinforced construction technology allows for steering precision and durability through the stronger lightweight construction. The tire’s cords are made from nylon and steel. Goodyear’s engineers worked to reduce the diameter of the fibers in order to reduce the thickness of the layer.

In the development of the tire, simulation played a key role, in particular finite element modeling, which was used to simulate the tire’s interaction with the car. The team also conducted several rounds of force-and-moment testing using a flat-track rig. That work took place at Goodyear’s facilities in Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, and Hanau, Germany. Elsewhere, on road testing in which potential customers were asked to drive vehicles equipped with the tires, was conducted at the company’s proving ground in Mireval, France, and in Spain and Germany.

According to experts at the company, refining production processes goes hand-in-hand with product development. Product development and production teams worked closely together implementing the tire in production.

Independent TÜV Süd benchmark test results show that the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 has a 2.6m shorter braking distance on wet roads than the average of three main competitors. Braking distance on dry roads is 1.3m shorter, and in wet handling, the tire demonstrated 4% better performance than the average of three main competitors. The results also show a 10.9% better rolling resistance than those tested.

Following the recent revelations that Nokian Tyres had supplied special high-quality tires for tests to journalists, leading to stronger test scores, Goodyear says it is working in close collaboration with TÜV Süd to prove it is worthy of consumers’ trust. Martijn de Jonge, EMEA brand director, commented, “What has happened is impacting the whole industry and we can only speak for ourselves. It’s important to note that the tires submitted to TÜV in this instance were production tires that came out of our production factories – so the same tires a consumer would buy in store.”

Elsewhere, Goodyear unveiled its unique spherical tire concept for autonomous vehicles at the Geneva Motor Show recently. Called the Eagle-360, the concept’s spherical shape would enable maximum maneuverability. It is suspended from the car by magnetic fields, which increases passenger comfort and reduces noise. Meanwhile, sensors inside the Eagle-360 register the road conditions and communicate this information to the car as well as to other vehicles to enhance safety. Leveraging Goodyear’s tread wear and pressure monitoring technology, sensors in the Eagle-360 register and regulate the wear of the tire to extend mileage.

The structure below the tread looks like a foam, which is strong enough to take the load off the car, but flexible enough to allow the tread to create a larger and safer contact patch with the road. This type of foam, when stretched, could become thicker perpendicular to the applied force. The dia-magnetic layer, located below the tread structure, would create a magnetic field that enables the levitation between tires and a car body. Inside the tire, electric energy is provided by a battery, which is charged by inductive transfer from the car body.

Goodyear has also revealed its plans to introduce three new runflats in cooperation with car makers.

March 31, 2016



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