GENEVA—Goodyear's vision of the future, on display at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, morphs the industry's signature “round and black” identity to “spherical and black,” with a touch of “biomimicry” and lots of imbedded sensors.
The Akron-based tire maker revealed two innovative concept tires this week at the 86th Geneva show that the company envisions could be suited for use on autonomous cars.
The concepts—one evolutionary and one revolutionary—are the IntelliGrip, featuring advanced sensor and treadwear technology, and the Eagle-360, a spherical tire design that would be connected to the vehicle via magnetic levitation.
Neither concept is shown together with a vehicle.
The IntelliGrip is designed to communicate with autonomous vehicle control systems, sensing road surface and weather conditions for improved driving safety and performance, the company said, thanks to advanced sensor technology and specially designed tread.
Goodyear envisions the concept tire could sense road conditions, including both surface and weather conditions, as well as assess the condition of the tire and the vehicle using Goodyear-developed algorithms for variables such as inflation pressure and tire temperature.
When the tire senses a rainy or slippery road surface,
Goodyear said an autonomous vehicle would adapt its speed accordingly. The tire also could shorten the stopping distance, provide a better cornering response, optimize stability and even support collision prevention systems.
The firm is working with a number of vehicle manufacturers to adapt this technology to their needs, enhancing connectivity with features such as electronic stability, brake and/or suspension control systems.
The out-of-the-box Eagle-360 spherical tire would provide self-driving cars ultimate maneuverability, connectivity and biomimicry to increase safety, the firm said.
Among the concept's performance advantages would be:
• Maneuverability—the ability to move in any direction to cope with space limitations such as tight parking spaces or city streets or for accident avoidance;
• Connectivity—embedded sensors would communicate road and weather conditions to the vehicle control system and other nearby cars, while tread and tire pressure monitoring technology regulate even wear of the 360-degree tire to extend mileage; and
• Biomimicry—the tire's 3D printed tread would mimic the pattern of brain coral and behave like a natural sponge, designed to stiffen in dry conditions and soften when wet to enhance driving performance and aquaplaning resistance.
Matching the concept tire to a vehicle would realy on a magnetic levitation system to suspend the car, resulting in a smooth, quiet ride for the passenger.
“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,” said Joseph Zekoski, Goodyear's senior vice president and chief technical officer.
“Goodyear's concept tires play a dual role in that future, both as creative platforms to push the boundaries of conventional thinking and testbeds for next-generation technologies.”
Although these tires are theoretical concepts, Zekoski said they represent an essential aspect of Goodyear's innovation strategy and its vision for smart and safe mobility.