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Goodyear, Starship to Test Airless Tires for Robots

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January 5, 2022

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has announced it developed and is testing a custom-engineered non-pneumatic (airless) tire (NPT) to support delivery robots for Starship Technologies. The two companies are currently conducting in-field testing at Bowling Green State University in Ohio to evaluate vehicle and tire dependencies.

Starship, which is a portfolio company of Goodyear Ventures, builds and operates a network of more than 1,000 last-mile autonomous robots that carry and deliver packages, groceries and food directly to customers. To address a request by Starship related to tire health and maintenance, Goodyear said it developed a specially engineered airless tire designed to extend tire life and reduce maintenance activities for the Starship delivery fleet.

“We are excited to extend our unique airless tire architectures into new forms of mobility,” said Michael Rachita, senior program manager for non-pneumatic tires at Goodyear. “The microdelivery space presents a different set of needs as it relates to the tire, and our NPT technology is ideal to meet those needs to help enable a maintenance-free and long-lasting experience.”

“Our delivery robots make thousands of deliveries every day in all types of weather conditions and terrain,” said Siim Viilup, mechanical engineering manager at Starship. “To make sure we can keep up with the growing demand for our services, we need tires that are reliable and keep our robots on the move around the clock and around the globe. It’s great to see these new tires offering reliability as well as cost savings as we scale our business.”

For more details on Goodyear’s Advanced Mobility initiative, visit its website here.

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