AutoSock Interview Series “5 Questions”
1. Who are you and what is your relation to AutoSock?
I am Bård Løtveit, born in Norway and I invented AutoSock. After the invention in 1996, I gave the product its name and founded the company. Product inventions were always interesting to me, so I invented products myself. AutoSock is so far my most successful patented innovation.
2. How did you get the idea for the textile traction device AutoSock?
My father-in-law hired me in his business with retreading tires, for both, passenger cars and trucks. That could be a reason why, I started to think about the new idea to increase a car’s ability to get extra traction when needed on snow and ice. I’m often convinced that all human solutions for different challenges, never mind what kind of challenges, I will be able to improve it. I was thinking to myself: why not creating a quick and easy winter traction aid by using more convenient material to increase friction for vehicles?
3. Could you describe the process of developing AutoSock?
In the beginning, I did a study of ski sport, different solution skis, and skate factories use for increasing friction on cross-country skis and downhill skis. I learned a lot about friction on snow and ice from Norwegian ski experts connected to the Winter Olympic Games. The next step was to choose textile fabrics as material for my invention. I formed a team of experts from the textile industries and included textile universities. Together we worked out a matrix to sort out the most suitable textile fabric including yarn, weaving, and sewing, aimed for our traction device purpose. In the meantime, I already started a serious design process together with a designer from the automotive industry.
4. After the invention of AutoSock 1996: What does AutoSock mean to you today?
I am very glad that AutoSock is so successful after so many years being in the market for winter traction devices. The brand AutoSock is still strong and continuously develops. I’m still working for the company to improve the product even further by continuously supporting the developing process. New demands from end consumers, car manufacturers as well as new economic and social movements require AutoSock to improve its products and offer flexible solutions. I’m very happy to still play an important role in this very exciting company.
5. An inventor never rests: What are your current and future projects?
I am a “material nerd”. Currently I’m working with my focus on wood, and I am very fascinated by spruce. My current projects are making coffins and urns in Norway by using Norwegian wood, mainly spruce.
Read also our interview with Einar Hareide, the person behind the AutoSock design.