Self-inflating vehicle tires on the way
Monday 22 August 2011
Drivers could soon be traveling in cars with self-inflating tires, according to reports from the US.
Tire manufacturer Goodyear confirmed last week that it is currently working on a tire with an automatic pump embedded, which could keep the internal air pressure at the recommended level.
The firm told Edmunds' AutoObserver that its Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) tires will be able to keep themselves at the optimum pressure with no need for external pumps or trips to the garage.
The system is made possible by a miniature internal pump, which is connected to pressure sensors in a self-contained unit inside each tire.
Cleverly, the entire setup will be powered by the movement of the tire, meaning there will be no need to charge or power the pump through an external source.
"A tire that can maintain its own inflation is something drivers have wanted for many years," Goodyear's Jean-Claud Kihn told AutoObserver.
"Goodyear has taken on this challenge and the progress we have made is very encouraging. This will become the kind of technological breakthrough that people will wonder how they ever lived without."
At the moment, the company hasn't disclosed when the tires will be available, or how much they'll cost.
Maintaining the correct tire pressure is an important task for drivers - not only ensuring that the vehicle handles correctly, but also improving fuel economy.
Underinflated tires can lower mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in tire pressure below the recommended amount of all four tires, says the US Environmental Protection Agency.
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