A new breed of airless, virtually indestructible tires are coming to the ATV world, will cars and trucks be next? Probably sooner than we think.
Armored vehicles do an excellent job of protecting soldiers and police personnel from bullets, shrapnel and other dangers encountered in the line of duty. Traditionally, however, these types of vehicles have always presented the same weak leak that can in some cases mean the difference between life and death: completely exposed rubber tires.
Steel might be able to resist the explosive force of an improvised explosive device, but the rubber that is used in making the tires that support the massive weight of these vehicles has lagged behind in terms of strength and resistance to puncture. It’s not just rocket-propelled grenades or machine gun fire that shreds tires, either – debris in the road, a hazard on both war-torn and peaceful roadways alike, can also quickly stop a convoy due to tire damage.
When tires blow in a hostile situation, the lack of mobility and the exposure of soldiers forced to replace those tires in order to get moving again puts lives at risk. Run-flat tire technology cribbed from civilian designs is only so effective in a combat zone, as both speed limitations imposed on damaged wheels as well as the distances between safe areas can both conspire against the safety of military personnel. These unique conditions, encountered every day by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, prompted Resilient Technologies to create the Non-Pneumatic Tire.