The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has entered into a strategic collaboration with Plus (formerly Plus.ai), a global provider of self-driving truck technology, to provide optimised, autonomous trucking solutions. Goodyear brings a range of services to this collaboration, including connected tyres, and the partners will explore how Plus’s autonomous driving system can incorporate feedback from these tyres into Plus’s online, machine learning-based fuel optimisation, to further improve fuel economy.
Tests of self-driving trucks on public roads have been taking place in the USA for several years now, and Bridgestone Americas is partnering in a number of projects. Following on from its investments in Kodiak Robotics and Azuga, the company has announced a partnership with Swedish electric and autonomous freight mobility solutions company Einride. Bridgestone says this partnership aims to co-create “innovative and sustainable mobility solutions for electrified and autonomous Class 8 vehicles.”
It is, says Goodyear Tire & Rubber, an industry first – a local transportation authority in the USA is field-testing the non-pneumatic tyre and wheel assembly the tyre maker developed for autonomous urban vehicles. The lessons learned will contribute towards the further development of maintenance-free tyres.
Bridgestone Americas has made a minority investment in Kodiak Robotics, a leading self-driving trucking company in the USA. Nizar Trigui, Bridgestone Americas’ chief technology officer and group president of its Solutions Businesses, also joins the Kodiak Robotics Board of Directors.
Following the recent news that self-driving vehicles could be made legal on UK roads next year, Paul Loughlin, a solicitor specialising in motoring law at Stephensons, spells out some of the implications of what this could mean for drivers.
Autonomous vehicles have arrived on our roads and the growth of self-driving cars and smart tyres will also improve road safety, believes Nokian Tyres. Says Mika Penttilä, Head of Digital Technology for Nokian Tyres: “In the future, tyres designed for autonomous vehicles will require smart characteristics in addition to traditional ones such as wet grip. The sensor technology in tyres will provide us with even more information on driving conditions and their changes.”
During its meeting yesterday, the Continental AG Supervisory Board agreed upon an “important phase” in the company’s transition from tyre maker to mobility supplier. From 1 January 2022, Continental will elevate its business with systems for advanced driver assistance and automated driving into its own business area within its Automotive Technologies group sector.
Bridgestone Corporation has invested in NEXT Logistics Japan, a company established by truck manufacturer Hino Motors in 2018 to explore new technologies and solutions for the logistics industry. The new investor will work together with NEXT Logistics Japan on a new long-distance transportation scheme that aims to reduce the number of drivers required for road haulage.
Goodyear has invested in a further autonomous vehicle firm through its Goodyear Ventures venture capital fund. The latest business to join Goodyear Venture’s growing investment portfolio is TuSimple, a global autonomous trucking technology company that operates self-driving trucks out of its facilities in the USA, Europe, China and Japan.
Goodyear Ventures, the venture capital arm of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, has added Starship Technologies to its investment portfolio. Goodyear Ventures joins multiple investors helping to raise US$17 million for the autonomous delivery company.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and SafeAI have entered into a strategic relationship to incorporate tyre intelligence into the programming of autonomous heavy equipment vehicles. Through an integration with the SafeAI autonomous ecosystem, the companies will exchange site data in a move designed to “protect tyre health, eliminate downtime and contribute to a smarter, safer standard for the construction industry”. Specifically, tyre intelligence from Goodyear’s TPMS Heavy Duty rim-mounted sensors will be deployed at an active construction site in Cupertino, California.
Bridgestone has formed a partnership with the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC). The global competition for university teams challenges students to programme a modified Dallara IL-15 race car and compete in the world’s first autonomous high-speed, head-to-head race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Bridgestone will exclusively supply tyres for the event, scheduled for 23 October, 2021. The tyre manufacturer said that it will work closely with the IAC and its participating teams “on a collective vision to push the boundaries of self-driving car technology.” Bridgestone added that it wants the partnership to “increase public awareness of the impact that automation can have on society.”
Einride, which began working with Michelin last year, has launched a range of Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) pods into the global market. Costs are expected to range from around 10,000 euros per pod. The goal is for such technology to replace conventional commercial vehicles with an interim goal of 30 per cent of the market.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz have announced that they are putting their autonomous drive technology collaboration on hold. David Leggett, automotive analyst at data and analytics company GlobalData, comments on the news: “The two companies cited the cost of developing a new next generation shared autonomous drive technology platform, as well as current business and economic conditions, as reasons for putting the cooperation on hold.”
A pioneering project on how connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and their associated infrastructure can develop real-time responsiveness to cybersecurity threats, has highlighted the ‘urgent need’ for a national road transport cybersecurity programme in order for the UK to safely support CAV adoption across the transport network.