As the number one tire brand in North America , Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company is leading the way in digitizing the tire industry. Their innovations department has fully embraced the notion of the internet of things. In an industry that is largely commoditized, finding ways to stand out and provide greater value is critical. A few key areas of focus have been identified by James Euchner, VP, Global Innovation, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. For a glimpse into his vision, check out his presentation at the IoT conference this summer linked below.
Goodyear is the sole supplier of racing tires for all NASCAR vehicles.
“A simple, often overlooked piece of equipment in the eyes of NASCAR fans, the tire’s importance to stock car auto racing cannot be emphasized enough — especially considering it’s the only part of the vehicle that actually touches the racetrack.”
Goodyear is already using technology to manage and track the tires throughout the supply chain, all the way down to where they’re sitting by the racetrack. This RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system allows a small chip located on the tire at manufacturing to be used to track that one individual unit all the way to the consumer. Not only does it track location but it also holds info on the specs and batch numbers etc. of that specific tire. In a sport determined by differences of seconds and where people’s lives are at stake, every small detail counts and pit crews are responsible for verifying all of this information and ensuring that they know exactly where the tires are on site at all times.
Taking this digitization of the business one step further, Goodyear is now working on a Smart Tire where they are mounting sensors on the tire itself in order to measure temperature and pressure during use, in addition to tire vibration data that’s used to estimated tread depth. All of the data is fed in real time into the vehicle control system which improves breaking and handling, offering a crucial leg up for drivers.
Commercial Trucking Fleets
In what may even be a more interesting application of this tire sensor technology, Goodyear is looking to roll out these smart tires to commercial trucking fleets. In an effort to improve safety and reduce maintenance costs and downtime, sensors will notify drivers and Goodyear when a tire is about to fail. This allows the driver to make a call about whether or not he or she needs to seek help and when, if they need to pull off the road or not. In addition, this data will be utilized by Goodyear so that they know when tires are about to fail and they can provide a replacement tire and/or maintenance service. In addition, having more information about how and why wear and tear on the tires is happening is useful for product development. Before, all product quality information had to come from the biased lens of drivers, mechanics, or distributors. Now there is hard data to show the way in which the tires are being used so that Goodyear can innovate, coming up with solutions to problems that may not ever have been possible to pinpoint before.
They are taking this data collection one step further by adding data collection systems into the trucks themselves. Measuring driver behavior along seven criteria (including acceleration, braking, etc.) in order to improve safety of drivers and reducing abuse on the machine. Having further and more intimate knowledge of these behaviors adds value to the managers of the fleet and allows Goodyear to see further into the ways in which their products are being used.
Smarter tires, safer world.
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