Goodyear presented an interesting concept tire at this years Geneva International Motor show, Via Gizmag
As autonomous cars move closer to the showroom, it’s clear that they’ll be more than just conventional vehicles minus the driver. It means rethinking every major system down to the tires. At the 86th Geneva International Motor show, Goodyear has taken the wraps off two concept tires designed for the autonomous cars of tomorrow – including a spherical tire that allow cars to drive sideways and one that can sense road conditions and adapt to them.
New technologies present new problems – and new opportunities. This is particularly true of something as complicated as an autonomous car, which is as much a robot as it is a form of transportation. New sensors, algorithms, and control systems need developing, and this also opens the door for some lateral thinking.
The first concept is the Eagle-360. This is a spherical tire that’s linked to the car by magnetic levitation rather than axles, so it can rotate on any axis in any direction. This makes the car ultra-maneuverable and could pave the way for smaller carparks and more efficient use of road space because the Eagle-360 allows the car to move sideways.
In addition, the Eagle-360 has embedded sensors that allow the tires to assess the local environment and communicate with other vehicles or the local traffic control system. The tire can also monitor its treads and tire pressure and rotate itself for more even wear and longer mileage.
Even the tread is advanced, with a 3D-printed biomimetic design that imitates the pattern of brain coral. According to Goodyear, this allows the tread to act like a natural sponge , so it stiffens in dry conditions and softens in the wet to reduce aquaplaning and improve handling.