Bridgestone developed airless tires, and plans to commercialize in 2019.
The company first revealed its prototype of AirFree Concept automobile tires in 2012. This development is expected to replace tubed and tubeless tires in the near future.
This tire has rigid plastic resin spokes, which helps the wheel maintain its shape as it rolls, avoiding the requirement of an inflatable inner tube that can puncture or leak. Airless tires were initially used in the military vehicles and ATVs, however, Bridgestone’s version of airless tires can be used for commercialized vehicles, primarily bicycles.
The new approach adopted by Bridgestone eliminates the need for inner tube and portion of a bicycle wheel’s spokes with thermoplastic resin supports. This provides better absorption of bumps, making the overall ride smoother, without requiring to adjust air pressure in its tires.
If this type of tire is used for cars, and it has the potential to improve fuel efficiency as they will never deflate or lose shape over time. This in turn, has the potential to improve overall safety of a car, considering the fact that these airless tires can never explode.
This is exceptionally convenient for cyclists, as they would no longer need to carry a pump or a spare inner tube.
Bridgestone hopes to have these tires tested and ready for consumers by 2019, way before the Tokyo Summer Olympics scheduled for 2020.
The new tire was a product of a partnership between Bridgestone Corporation and Bridgestone Cycle, and were made for recyclable resin. The company is assessing the feasibility of the tires before its commercialization in 2019.