Startup wins state mobility grant
A startup that specializes in electronic suspension control systems has received an inaugural state grant to test a new product.
Holland-based AKTV8 has received a $50,000 PlanetM Mobility Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The company was one of six in the state and the only one in West Michigan to win an inaugural award from the program.
The award recipients “aim to address today’s toughest mobility and transportation challenges,” the state said.
Alongside commercial vehicle supplier SAF-HOLLAND, AKTV8 will test a new generation electronic tire inflation system for Class-8 trailers in West Michigan.
The new system, called SMAR-te Tire Pilot, is a combination of SAF’s Tire Pilot Plus tire inflation system and AKTV8’s patented iAir control system.
Unlike the mechanical systems today that only can increase tire pressure, the SMAR-te system will estimate the load of the trailer and electronically inflate and deflate all tires to optimize tire contact to the road, the company said.
Network and Bluetooth connectivity enhance diagnostic data for fleet management, while a warning light alerts the driver of tire leaks and potential overload conditions. The system “promises to improve tire life and fuel economy,” improving vehicle reliability.
“Electronic control of pneumatics and air suspension is a key enabler of autonomous vehicles and improved safety for commercial trucking,” said Josh Coombs, chief technology officer and co-founder, AKTV8. “Tire Pilot SMAR-te is another example of AKTV8’s made-easy approach to electrifying traditional pneumatics.”