When you think Bridgestone, you think tyres, after all it’s the world’s largest tyre and rubber company. But what you may not know is that the organisation is now heavily investing in autonomous driving technologies. The tyre giant has joined with ZMP Inc. who develop hardware and software for automated services such as self-driving taxis, delivery robots and logistic support robots. For example, they plan to ferry around spectators at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in self-driving cabs.
Bridgestone wants to use the driverless technology when it comes to tyre noise tests. It has already managed to use manned vehicles at one of its proving grounds working with ZMP Inc. But the next step is to achieve what is known as SAE-Level 4 automated vehicles for testing in 2019. Level 4 is one off the magic level 5 holy grail as judged by the Society of Automotive Engineers. They’re the US based global body responsible for making sure all this crazy tech comes together one day.
But why take the human element out of testing tyres? Well tyre noise regulations are getting tougher across Europe, Asia, Japan plus other countries and regions around the world. The belief is that by using automated vehicles the tests will become more accurate, removing the skills and expertise of test drivers. Sure, that means a loss of jobs. But in the long term the project is expected to increase the quality of its products, while gaining knowledge into what the future driverless vehicle requires wrapped around its rims.
Here’s a little video that explains the concept a little further, apologies for the wild dance music track!