How New AI-Powered Smart Tires May Help Change Transportation

A new brain for your tires

Key Takeaways

  • Tire manufacturer Goodyear is unveiling SightLine, new treadwear detecting, AI-powered smart tire software to help drivers on the road.
  • This innovation could change the way delivery services, ridesharing drivers, and consumers relate to transportation. Increasing safety.
  • Smart tires remain too new for experts to weigh in properly, but issues may occur with cloud-based driver data collection.
Closeup of an Audi tire.

Chinmay Jade / Unsplash

Self-start your engines! Tire manufacturers are unveiling new smart tires, complete with intelligent AI software seeking to lend a helping hand to drivers.  

Tire makers such as Goodyear and Bridgestone have teamed up with AI software developers to create self-detecting tires with the ability to notify drivers when they require a change. The intelligence may help mitigate potential hazards down the line. The first on-the-road testers are last-mile delivery vehicles delivering pertinent data to cloud-computing platforms to provide real-time information using intelligent AI design. 

The innovation is not ready to be implemented on a mass scale, but the possibilities already are being weighed by experts. From mitigating car accidents to intelligently retracing steps and signaling changes in road conditions.

“[I]ts launch establishes the groundwork for a connected-tire future in which every tire provides intelligence,” Goodyear’s SightLine press release reads. “In the future, [the] technology will not only provide feedback on the tire but provide feedback on road conditions, enabling connected, autonomous mobility.”

Down the Road

Smart tires have the potential to restructure the way we drive. Goodyear plans to implement the smart tire AI technology into all new products by 2027, according to the company’s June 16 press release. Next-generation smart tires are on the road with commercial delivery vehicles.

A conceptual smart tire image.

Hankook Tire & Technology Co.

With treadwear sensors and the ability to detect potential flats, the intelligent design is useful for delivery trucks and could be a potential benefit for Uber and Lyft drivers who experience increased rates of tire wear and speed rating. Monitoring the health of tires through AI can better allow consumers to be proactive about tire maintenance, which can help save hundreds of lives each year. 

Tire failure accounts for an average of 33,000 accidents annually, according to data by the National Transportation Safety Board. Blowouts, specifically, account for some 2,000. 

However, it’s not just straight consumer-side benefits. Tire makers get something out of the deal, too, by collecting data regarding driving behavior and where drivers choose to go. Theoretically, they can sell this information to advertisers for increased profits and further expand their business model past the buyer-seller connection. With smart tires, consumers remain tied to tire manufacturers for more than just a quick tire change every few years. 

The Future of Transportation?

Experts in the field have yet to form a conclusive opinion on the impact of smart tires. Consumer Reports recently tasked “a team of engineers and other trained professionals” with testing and rating the new tires. The technology is still too new for comment, they said. 

“[Consumer Reports] has not conducted any evaluations or tests of smart tires yet and so could not offer comment on the emerging technology,” Douglas Love, associate director of communications, said in a statement to Lifewire

“In the future, [the] technology will not only provide feedback on the tire but provide feedback on road conditions, enabling connected, autonomous mobility.”

Chirag Shah, an adjunct associate professor in the University of Washington’s Human Centered Design and Engineering program, has a more critical take on smart tires and their connection to consumers. He believes it could be an attempt by tire companies to reclaim market share. 

“I believe a big reason for Goodyear and others to push for this technology is to collect data. Collecting data about driving through tires will open up a whole new world of possible services for them,” Shah said in an email interview with Lifewire.

“They could share (sell) this data to various agencies and partners for various purposes—including understanding road conditions, driving habits, congestions, etc. Imagine having an app subscription that monitors and presents your driving records and behaviors to help you drive better or avoid bad patches of roads. Imagine feeding this data from millions of drivers and billions of miles driven to map services [like] Google Maps.”

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