The future of autonomous vehicle mobility takes on a new direction after Goodyear recently revealed a uniquely shaped concept tire called the Eagle-360. Compared to standard tires, the 3D-printed concept tire has a spherical shape, features a unique tread for better grip during wet-weather driving and gets smart technologies that make for safer and better on-road performance.
“By steadily reducing the driver interaction and intervention in self-driving vehicles, tires will play an even more important role as the primary link to the road. Goodyear’s concept tires play a dual role in the future both as creative platforms to push the boundaries of conventional thinking and as testbeds for next-generation technologies,” said Joseph Zekoski, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Goodyear.
According to the tiremaker, the Eagle-360 aims to improve maneuverability of autonomous cars. With the unique shape and treadwork, the concept tire will be able to move in all directions. Moreover, it will also reduce unnecessary sliding that can be caused by potential hazards. Its spherical shape, on the other hand, allows for a more comfortable ride for the occupants. It will also be connected to the car by way of magnetic levitation instead of standard suspensions.
To combat wet-weather roads, it has a sponge-like groove design which softens up when faced with wet conditions. This allows the tire to make deeper groves, reducing the risk of aquaplaning. Any water absorbed by the Eagle-360 is then ejected through the tire’s centrifugal force. On dry scenarios, it stiffens up for better contact with the pavement.
Over to its smart tech, when it detects the car is going over a slippery surface for example, the tires’ onboard sensors immediately adjust the car’s speed accordingly. These smart tires will also tell other tires on different cars of oncoming hazards.
Checking wear and tear on the tires will be easier as Goodyear also installed sensors which will be able to the tires’ lifespan. If needed, the tires will reposition themselves in order to extend their use. Parking the autonomous vehicle will also be made easier as the tires can immediately point to the direction of a free parking spot.
As the tires are 3D-printed, Goodyear claimed that each set of Eagle-360 can be made specifically to a market’s road conditions. There is no word yet when will they introduce a production version to the market or whether they have already partnered with an automaker in using the concept tires.