BWSC STORIES

Under the BWSC theme 'Dream bigger. Go farther,' Bridgestone supports challengers in achieving their dreams.
Let us introduce the Bridgestone’s corporate museum ‘BRIDGESTONE TODAY’ and the solar car event that was held there.

An event to learn about BWSC was held at BRIDGESTONE TODAY, the museum of tires and rubber

To challenge BWSC also means to challenge the current technologies.

The teams aiming for the top are collecting sponsorship from companies with several kinds of materials and technical support; they utilize leading-edge technologies to make the fastest possible cars.

Being the title sponsor of the BWSC, Bridgestone offers technical support by providing participant teams with their tires.

In this article we will introduce you to the technical progress Bridgestone has been making toward the future of mobility as well as the interactive event that was held in association with the BWSC.

BRIDGESTONE TODAY is where we can learn about the present and the future of Bridgestone

‘BRIDGESTONE TODAY,’ the Bridgestone’s corporate museum of rubber and tires, was established in the premises of the Bridgestone's Technical Center in Kodaira, Tokyo in 2001. Visitors can learn about the technology associated with Bridgestone’s rubber and tires as well as the company’s history.

You can also learn about Bridgestone’s unreleased advanced technologies developed for the future of mobility. Let us introduce you to two types of leading-edge technologies that can be found at BRIDGESTONE TODAY as of August 2019.

One of the advanced technologies demonstrated at BRIDGESTONE TODAY is this next-generation tire which utilizes the technology called ‘Air Free Concept’ that requires no pneumatic stowing as is implied by its name. The tire uses specially shaped resin spokes to support the load on the tires, a job previously performed by air.

Air Free Concept not only reduces the effort needed to fill the tire with air but also helps lessen the danger of flat tires and make recycling easier.
It also allows more flexibility in designing, showing the possibilities of the next-generation tires.

At BRIDGESTONE TODAY, you can find tires with Air Free Concept for both bicycles and automobiles. You can even ride the bicycles to experience the advanced technology yourself.

Another advanced technology displayed there is the ‘ bus-stop barrier-less curbstones,’ that has been put into practical use in Okayama in collaboration with Yokohama National University (Transportation and Urban Engineering Lab. directed by Prof. Fumihiko Nakamura), Japan Transportation Planning Association, and ADVANCE CO., LTD.

The bus-stop barrier-less curbstones were developed to tackle the problem surrounding bus stops. There usually are gaps between bus doors and the curbstones, even if buses try to park close the bus stops. This is especially problematic for those people using wheelchairs or strollers, as well as the elderly when getting on or off a bus.

The specially shaped bus-stop barrier-less curbstones help solve this issue by guiding the bus tires closer to the bus stops, which in turn minimizes the gap between the bus doors and bus stops. Bridgestone has also been researching barrier-less concept tires fitted to curbstones, and has been developing the barrier-less system by combining those curbstones and tires.

Although neither of these technologies we have introduced is directly relevant to the BWSC, they share the same goals of contributing to the future of mobility.

Kogakuin Solar Team’s solar car OWL, which came second in the Cruiser Class race in BWSC15, was also displayed at the entrance of BRIDGESTONE TODAY for ten days, from the 5th of August. It was also exhibited in Tokyo Square Garden, in Kyobashi, Tokyo, on June 04, 2019.

Lots of children with their parents were spotted learning about the solar car for their holiday homework projects.

An event to learn about solar cars

The event ‘learning about solar cars, the eco-friendly vehicles of the future’ was held on the 9th and the 10th of August. The program, which was run twice a day, for a total of four times, attracted 53 pairs of parents and children, making a total of 156 visitors. The participants studied the mechanism of solar cars and took part in the solar car handicraft workshop, which was directed by pika, a popular DIY handcrafter.

Several members of Kogakuin University Solar Team gave talks on the mechanism of solar cars at the beginning of the event.

The team carried out three experiments. The first one was about how solar panels are used to move objects. They explained the difference between parallel and serial panel connections.

The second experiment was about the importance of running with the wind.

Solar cars usually only weigh 150kg; the ones with high aerodynamic performance can run at top speed just with the wind pressure of 3 kg. Kogakuin University Solar Team carried out an experiment to show how wind could be used as the source of power for solar cars.

The third experiment was about the difference between rubber tires and metal tires.

Solar cars use rubber tires, but why do the tires need to be made of rubber?- because of the resistance rubber could provide. Kogakuin students demonstrated the importance of resistance by using the models with rubber tires and metal tires.

Having learned a little bit about solar cars, the participants took part in the handicraft workshop.

The workshop, directed by pika, the popular DIY handcrafter, involved making solar car models using milk cartons. Children along with their parents were all absorbed in the handicraft experience.

This workshop will also be introduced by Ryoichi Yokoyama, a manga artist, as well as by Yutanuki Yoshimoto. Don’t miss it!

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The technologies displayed at BRIDGESTONE TODAY may not be directly relevant to BWSC19, but they are contributing to the future of mobility, to improve your lives.

We can guarantee that there will be a variety of leading-edge technologies at the upcoming BWSC race in October. We encourage you to keep an eye out for those technologies that have been adopted by the teams.

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13-20 Oct. 2019

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