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Nexen Tire and Michelin Talk What's In Store For The Future Of Tire Technology

In anticipation of the conversations taking place at this year’s Traction Summit around the tire industry in a new disruptive age; we caught up to two leading global tire brands to discuss what is in store for the future of the tire technology, autonomous vehicles and the tire industry, and the biggest challenges for those working on future tire solutions. 

What do you hope to see achieved over the next two years with regard to tire technology?

Nexen: I would be happy to see incremental improvements in the overall tire performance envelope within the next few years, but I think larger changes will be visible if we look 10 years out.  I think we will see a reduction in road hazards and improvements in overall tire-related safety wrapped in a lightweight, low noise, and low cost tire.  And the vehicle is going to have more data about the tire in real time.  That data will become very beneficial as it accumulates into “big” data.  

Michelin: We are most interested in technologies that improve customer safety.  In the next few years, we hope to see better application of existing technologies so that tire performance is maintained over the entire life of the tire, and new technologies that further aide in sustaining tire performance.

What opportunities do autonomous vehicles present to the tire industry?

Nexen: I think the greatest opportunity, or perhaps change, will be the move from an individual consumer driven market to a fleet-based market similar to TBR.  It’s going to be a real disruption on the commercial side of the business, and only those with the cleverest business acumen and lowest cost-per-mile will survive.   

Michelin: Autonomous vehicles will bring a heightened awareness of safety and reliability.  Autonomous vehicles represent a platform for the tire industry to demonstrate their leadership in these two areas.  Additionally, connection between the tires, the vehicle, the occupants and the extended vehicle network will be critical.  The tire industry will need to determine how to “connect” the tire information to the vehicle and the vehicle network.

What are some of the biggest challenges for those working on future tire solutions?

Nexen: Cost and weight.  Reducing tire weight has a negative impact on some important tire qualities.  And cost will become even more critical as time moves on, which is not what a lot of us want to hear.   

Michelin: Some of the biggest challenges are first, getting the value proposition correct – is the cost benefit ratio correct? Second, universal format of data and ownership of data are important.  For sustainable solutions, it is often a challenge to get the customer to recognize that value of a sustainable product versus an short life product.

Register today and hear more from Nexen And Michelin at this year's Traction Summit