Given the number of reports that have already been made on the development of autonomous vehicles, it certainly seems fitting that we're now getting news from other manufacturers in chain coming up with their own contributions to the car of the future.
Take Goodyear for example. The tire maker has recently unveiled a spherical, 3D-printed tire at the Geneva International Motor Show that they hope will ultimately contribute to safety and incredible mobility by rethinking the way tires are connected to cars.
Named the Goodyear Eagle-360, the tires are suspended from the car by magnetic fields, similar what's being used by magnetic levitation trains, allowing them a full 360 degrees of movement. Simply put, cars of the future will be able to move in virtually any direction, so things like three-point turns or complicated parallel parking will be a thing of the past.
You'll probably have something more akin to a joystick than a steering wheel for control of your car, but then Goodyear is expecting that you won't even need to steer to begin with, as all four wheels will be able to rotate independently, allowing the vehicle to counter for slippery surfaces. Sensors in the tires will register the road conditions and take into account factors like weather and the road surface to best allow the car to determine the safest way to navigate any stretch of road. This information can also be sent to other smart vehicles behind it, allowing for safer travel overall.
Goodyear is proposing that the tire can be 3D printed to best match the local conditions the tire will be used in, and that a tread that mimics the pattern of brain coral be used. The blocks and grooves that make up the pattern not only increase the contact area of the tire, but also allow for the placement of materials that have the same elements as a natural sponge that stiffens when dry but softens when wet, thus allowing it to deliver appropriate grip for both dry and wet roads. It also allows the tire to eject water through centrifugal force, allowing the car to reduce the risk of aquaplaning.
Finally, sensors embedded in the tire allow it monitor wear and tear as well as internal pressure, so that it can automatically rotate itself to spread the wear over the entire surface, maximizing usage. Better mobility, better endurance, and safer driving overall. There really isn't much not to like about this concept, so let's hope the engineers at Goodyear find a way to bring this tire to life soon.
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