Autonomous vehicles (AVs) will become an increasingly significant part of transport systems in the 2020s and pose new challenges for the tire industry.
Smithers’ latest market report, ‘The Impact of Autonomous Vehicles on Tires to 2029’ identifies a number of advantages AVs can have. These include improving safety; increasing shared mobility, leading to reduced congestion; less urban space used for parking; and reducing emissions as personal passenger cars are superseded by shared electric vehicles. While there are multiple obstacles – including cost and complexity – many governments are wholly in favor of AVs and pushing for their development.
This shift will affect both passenger car tires, including SUV/LT/LCV; and truck and bus tires. The Smithers expert survey of the emergent AV marketplace finds the largest impacts will be in:
- Tire materials and components
- Tire retail
- Tire marketing
Specifically tires for AV applications will:
- Place a greater emphasis on durability, over handling and other performance criteria
- See passengers in autonomous vehicle gain additional leisure or work time, making ride comfort a higher priority; and as electric vehicles are used more widely, lower-noise tires will also be demanded
- Accelerate the adoption of smart tires with sensing and reporting functions
- See more use of low maintenance or planned tire monitoring platforms to manage fleets of shared AVs
- Demand lower weight tires to extend mobility, especially for electric vehicles
- See an increase in demand of tires optimized to specific models.
The report provides an authoritative ranking of trends related to autonomous vehicles and their impact on the tire industry. This includes expert forecasts for the influence of each of these across 2019–29 on each stage in the supply chain.