TTI: How has the project progressed in the last 12 months?
Henning Olsson: I’ve spoken with more than 30 engineers from vehicle and tire manufacturers worldwide and the overall response is positive, but people have a lot of questions. Everyone agrees that there are challenges in tire modeling that could be addressed to some extent by OpenTIRE, and that it could get more people into tire modeling more easily. On the other hand, people are investing a lot of time and money in furthering their own tire modeling efforts so they’re reluctant to share their findings in a competitive market – which is to be expected.
I came into this from a pure modeling/coding perspective, but Jan Prins at Jaguar Land Rover reached out and suggested that there could be experience and methods we could discuss that would benefit everyone. During the Tire Modeling panel at the Tire Technology Conference in February 2016, there were discussions around that topic but once again, there is a hesitation from some quarters to get involved.
I’m certainly encountering more reluctance to commit than I thought I would and we’re a long way from a common consensus. There’s a difference between the tire manufacturers, who appear to be more hesitant and perhaps have more to lose, and the car manufacturers. To some extent, it’s also a generational thing – I tend to see younger engineers being more open to the idea. Many have used open-source software and tools at university and are more familiar with the concept.
TTI: What is live and usable on the website at the moment?
HO: The first version of the software is live and at a level where a university student could use it to get up to speed. We also have a web forum at opentire.org to discuss what the ‘pain points’ are in the tire modeling industry. What could we work together on? To address some of the pain points we need more feedback from the industry but even with this, there seems to be a reluctance from some quarters to share their problems.
TTI: Are you still optimistic that the original vision will be realized?
HO: From my experience and perspective, I saw only benefits for everyone: the industry hasn’t responded in the way I expected, but that’s OK and the good thing about being open about these kinds of projects is that we do get people’s insights and opinions. We’ll regroup a little and use the forum to discuss the best way forward – and that’s a worthwhile exercise for the industry in itself.
In other industries, open source has had a real impact, but I’m not sure that many open-source initiatives have been launched in this industry before so perhaps we have to beat our own path. Some of our more ambitious goals are likely still a few years away, at least.
TTI: Where do you think OpenTIRE will be in another 12 months?
HO: One thing we discussed at the Conference was updating the tire modeling interface to a more advanced one than the Standard Tire Interface. We’d like to achieve that in the next year but creating a standard that really works for people requires more collaboration. It’s much more valuable if we get widespread adoption.
April 12, 2016