Goodyear Dunlop will show the future of tire technologies at this year’s Geneva International Motor Show: including tires becoming more and more intelligent with the use of electronics embedded into the tire. The company has announced its future goal is to increase tires’ intelligence to the point that tires are feeding back vital real-time information to the driver.
Goodyear has already enjoyed success in global motor sport and truck industries with its award-winning RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) Technology, which will be displayed at the Geneva International Motor Show.
The key element of the RFID technology is a tiny, one-centimeter chip. The microchip is built into the tire on the assembly line and is programmed with a unique code that identifies the tire, enabling automatic reading to see the type and size of the tire as well as its unique identity number.
Revolutionizing the Motor Sport industry
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in the UK and Dunlop Motorsport Europe successfully pioneered a world first in motor sport tire technology in 2011 with all tires on BTCC cars – exclusively supplied by Dunlop – automatically scanned as the cars drive into the pit lane. This ensures that each car is using the correct and allocated tires at all times.
Goodyear Dunlop has been working on this system for a number of years and has also been using it in the FIA European Truck Racing Championship. All Goodyear 315/70R22.5 truck race tires are built with RFID. This system is used by the company for tire management purposes at races and FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) officials use it for regulatory purposes.
Tony Duffy, Operations Manager for Dunlop Motorsport Europe, said:
"This has been quite an undertaking and the BTCC's technical know-how has been of huge benefit in enabling us to perfect the new system. We are now at a stage where no tire is missed and we can provide the BTCC with a 100 per accurate log of each tire’s activity."
"Whilst the technology has now been around for a year we have been ensuring the RFID tags remain stable in the tire and fine-tuning the frequencies to the point where no tire is 'missed' when cars return from the track. Together with our technical partner Datalinx we have achieved a great breakthrough for motor sport globally and we are sure other championships will eventually follow suit.”
Gaining an advantage in truck market
Goodyear recently also introduced the company’s first commercial use of microchips in truck tires on the new Goodyear Regional RHT II RFID 435/50R19.5 trailer tire, which uniquely interfaces with FleetOnlineSolutions, Goodyear’s internet-based tire management program. The new tire offers fleet operators benefits including reduced downtime, improved tire management and greater security.
Monitoring tires can be a slow process as each tire has to be identified by its sidewall markings, which are often not easy to see due to dirt or scuffing. RFID means that each tire can be quickly identified by a scanner and then have that information accurately electronically recorded. There are further benefits as these tires are much easier to trace than other tires if they are stolen and the tires can be monitored throughout their service lives, including retreading.
As Jean-Pierre Jeusette, General Director of Goodyear Innovation Center Luxembourg explains:
“These new tires offer fleets significant benefits. The RFID speeds-up maintenance as it allows fleets to very quickly and accurately identify the tires and link into the Goodyear FleetOnlineSolutions fleet management system. Previously, each tire’s six digit identity code would have to be read off the sidewall. This took time and mistakes could easily be made. Now it is fast and it is impossible to make a mistake with RFID. Every maintenance entry on the computer is 100% correct with these new tires.”
Awards and developments
Last year Goodyear Dunlop was selected as “One of the best of the Automotive Sector 2011 – Innovation Technology Category” by a team of journalists from AutoData Publishing, the most specialized auto industry magazine in Brazil in recognition of the company’s work related to RFID technology in its tires. Dunlop Motorsport’s technical partner Datalinx also scooped a major international award thanks to its involvement with RFID technology, winning the prestigious Most Innovative Solution of the Year trophy at Motorola’s Executive Partner Conference.
Goodyear Dunlop anticipates extending RFID to other tire types and sizes in the truck market in the near future and other championships in motor sport. Currently RFID tires are produced in Dunlop Motorsport Headquarters in Birmingham, UK and Goodyear Dunlop’s factories in Luxembourg and Wittlich in Germany. While the RFID chips currently only carry identifying data it may be possible in the future to make them dynamic so that real-time monitoring of various criteria is possible.
1 FleetOnlineSolutions (FOS) is an internet-based tire management system that links the customer with Goodyear Dunlop, taking care of all aspects of contract administration. Goodyear Dunlop contract customers can access the system, which links service providers with Goodyear Dunlop’s FOS database. Wherever service is required, the local TruckForce center accesses the database and is able to see all the customers’ contract details and technical requirements in the local language. The system takes care of invoicing and stock control and ensures that customers are charged according to their agreements and are invoiced accordingly. In-built reporting systems allow customers to access the system to monitor their accounts and view key performance indicators. FOS also significantly reduces paperwork.