5 Things Auto Mechanic School Students Should Know About Smart Tires

Human drivers form a tactile connection with their vehicles. Cars become an extension of the driver, and humans can detect a lack of grip on the road and other subtle changes in road conditions. Automotive innovators have been experimenting with autonomous driving systems and though they’ve made plenty of headway, safety is still a concern–particularly when it comes to adverse road conditions like snow and ice. Fortunately, a new tire intelligence technology has been developed and tested to establish a connection between tires and autonomous driving systems similar to that of a human driver and their vehicle. 

If you’re considering attending automotive school, or are already enrolled, read on to learn more about smart tires.

1. An Autonomous Trucking Company Is Leading the Charge Toward Smart Tires 

Autonomous vehicles are a great asset to logistics companies as they significantly reduce operation costs. That being said, the safety of autonomous vehicles is of utmost importance for loss prevention purposes. Gatik is a middle-mile trucking company with offices in Canada and the US. In the summer of 2022, the company started using smart tires to examine their effect on its autonomous fleet. The findings were quite promising, and the technology is an impressive sneak peek of what’s to come for autonomous vehicle technology.

Auto mechanic school students should keep auto tech companies like Gautik on their radars.

2. Smart Tires Utilize Goodyear’s SightLine Technology

Since 2021, tire giant Goodyear has been collaborating with Gatik to develop smart tire technology that will enhance the safety of autonomous driving. This innovative new feature is called SightLine. According to Tire Technology International, Chris Helsel, Senior vice president of global operations and chief technology officer, said of the project: “This is another step to evolve the tire to not only deliver its core, traditional job but also be a nexus of new data and information.” After studying automotive technology at auto mechanic school, you can hope to work with innovations like this. 

3. Smart Tires Communicate Vital Information to Autonomous Driving Systems 

How do smart tires work? According to Goodyear, the aim of SightLine tire technology is an anticipatory, actionable, and aware system. Friction detection technology is at the centre of SightLine’s function. In its development, information derived from tire sensors like wear state, inflation pressure, temperature, and load. These insights were analyzed against other vehicle data and real-time road conditions. From that information, Goodyear was able to create an algorithm with the ability to generate friction estimates. These were sent to Gatik’s autonomous fleet to assist with route planning, speed, and acceleration limits, thus enhancing safety. 

4. SightLine Technology Was a Success Even in Canadian Winters

In the winter of 2022, SightLine’s technology was tested. In dry road conditions and with ice and snow, SightLine’s ability to detect friction levels proved successful. Erin Spring, Goodyear’s senior director of global material science, told Electric Autonomy: “We implemented the technology [on Gatik’s fleet], and quite frankly, it was a little boring,” he said.

“Dry roads – we know that pretty well. But as the weather was changing and being able to validate that we can tell in that local area on the road, what that friction level was, was quite a success. Now we’re working and we’ll be integrating it into their system more fully.” 

After completing auto mechanic school, you can help develop automotive technology for winter driving.

5. Auto Mechanic School Students Can Expect Smart Tire Advancements

According to Goodyear, autonomous fleets will not be the only use of smart tires in the automotive industry. In fact, Goodyear intends to deploy SightLine technology on ‘select equipment vehicles’ this year. The hope is that smart tires can also be used to predict road conditions like potholes and even collect vital information on tire health. 

If you’re interested in a career in automotive tech innovation, auto mechanic training is an excellent place to start. At ATC Cambridge, we equip you with inside industry knowledge through hands-on training from our expert instructors. 

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