Goodyear unveils first AI-powered concept tyre
Tue 7 Mar 2017
Goodyear has unveiled a new spherical tyre concept which uses a ‘bionic skin’ and artificial intelligence (AI) to adapt to different road conditions.
The Eagle 360 Urban tyre, demonstrated at the Geneva Motor Show 2017, is 3D-printed and is able to mould in response to the changing surfaces it is driving on.
A press release announcing the new tyre concept claimed that it is the first to be powered by AI and is ‘able to sense, decide, transform and interact’, learning over time to contribute data to the car’s digital ‘nervous system’.
The firm continued that the tyre’s bionic skin made from an elastic polymer, along with a series of sensors, allows it to detect the road surface and expand or contract accordingly.
‘Thanks to this flexibility, actuator elements beneath the tyre’s surface, which are components that change shape with an electrical input, working like human muscles, can re-shape the individual sections of the tyre’s tread design, adding ‘dimples’ for wet conditions or smoothing the tread for dry conditions,’ explained Goodyear.
The tyre’s bionic skin can also heal itself if damaged using molecular bonding technology. Sensors in the tread are able to locate the puncture, and the tyre reacts by rotating to reduce the pressure and to allow the self-healing process to begin.
The 360 Urban tyre can also hook up to IoT devices, uploading data about the road and its movements to the cloud and communicating the information to cars travelling along the same route.
The new concept evolves from the U.S. company’s Eagle 360 levitating tyre model, which was presented at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Both designs are tailored specifically for self-driving vehicles.
Last year, Goodyear senior vice president Joseph Zekoski commented that the Eagle 360 range would help to steadily reduce ‘the driver interaction and intervention in self-driving vehicles,’ and that tyres would ‘play an even more important role as the primary link to the road.’
Zekoski added that the Eagle 360 concept tyres would provide both a creative platform to ‘push the boundaries of conventional thinking,’ and a test bed for next-generation technologies.
Alongside the Eagle 360 concepts, Goodyear has also unveiled its IntelliGrip Urban concept tyre, designed for autonomous fleet and shared vehicles. The tyre includes advanced sensor technology to react to road, grip and weather data from other vehicles, drivers, pedestrians and smart cities.