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OM in the News: The Intelligent Tire

March 24, 2020

Goodyear’s intelligent tire uses a sensor, machine-learning algorithms and cloud computing.

The tire, once the most basic of automobile parts, is getting a tech upgrade. Goodyear Tire & Rubber is developing a so-called intelligent tire outfitted with a sensor and proprietary machine-learning algorithms.

The hope is that the tires will help self-driving cars brake at a shorter distance and communicate with autonomous driving systems, reports The Wall Street Journal (March 20, 2020). “We see the tire playing a more important role than ever,” said  Goodyear’s CEO. “With the onset of autonomous vehicles, the role of the tire in the performance and safety of the vehicle would increase if we can make that tire intelligent.” (Researchers estimate that 10% to 30% of all vehicles will be fully self driving by 2030).

Goodyear already sells tires that can measure temperature and pressure. The company’s “intelligent” tires have a more advanced sensor to track dozens more measurements such as tire wear, inflation and road-surface conditions. The data is tracked continuously, sent to the cloud and analyzed in real time. The goal is for a self-driving vehicle to adjust and respond to the measurements instantaneously.

For example, if the tire senses that the car is driving over a slick road in cold temperatures, the vehicle will be able to automatically slow down and avoid sudden steering movements, while factoring in the tire’s tread and wear. Experiments showed that self-driving vehicles using Goodyear’s intelligent tires can shorten the stopping distance lost by wear-and-tear on a tire by about 30%. Goodyear’s new technology is expected to be used by consumers by 2021.

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. Referring to Chapter 2 in your Heizer/Render/Munson OM text, how does Goodyear plan to achieve competitive advantage?
  2. What external factors might slow the introduction and success of this new tire?
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