SMART Tire, a licensee of NASA technology, wins Hyundai and Kia's Accelerate the Future Challenge

Dec 19, 2022

SMART Tire Co., a startup that was founded in 2020 to advance airless tire technology developed by NASA, has recently been selected as a winner of the 2022 Accelerate the Future Challenge. This challenge, sponsored by Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp., is an open innovation program for startups and scale-ups around the world to find potential collaborators on practical solutions within the smart factory, robotics, advanced automotive technology, and smart mobility domains.

The name "SMART Tire" stands for Smart Memory Alloy Radial Technology, and the company is a licensee of spring tire technology developed by NASA. The founding team worked with inventors at NASA's Glenn Research Center to explore commercial applications for this technology and has raised an undisclosed amount of private funding to bring shape memory alloy tires to market.

The company has so far focused on bicycle and scooter tires, which are set to be launched commercially in 2023 under the name METL. Their METL non-pneumatic bicycle tire made from shape-memory alloys has already earned recognition with R&D 100 and CES Innovation Awards. The company is also reportedly kicking off development of a "rubber-integrated" airless automotive tire made from shape-memory alloys, although they did not provide further comment on this to Tire Business.

Winning the Accelerate the Future Challenge is a huge achievement for SMART Tire, and CEO Earle Cole calls it a "powerful validation" of their shape-memory alloy tire technology. As part of the challenge, the winners are invited to participate in paid "proof of concept" programs with Hyundai and Kia as equal partners. This is a great opportunity for SMART Tire to further develop and bring their innovative tire technology to market.

Overall, it's exciting to see a company like SMART Tire making strides in the tire industry and pushing the boundaries of what's possible. We can't wait to see what the future holds for them.

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