AKRON—Goodyear's Eagle-360, a spherical, 3-D printed, concept tire that the company unveiled during the Geneva International Motor Show March 1, has been named one of Time magazine's “Best Inventions of the Year 2016."
According to Goodyear, the Eagle-360's spherical shape is the key to its maneuverability, mobility and passenger safety. A video produced by the tire maker demonstrates how the tires would rest below the vehicle, held in place by magnetic levitation which functions similarly to magnetic levitation trains. Goodyear claims this feature not only would increase the vehicle's maneuverability by allowing the tire to capitalize on its ability to rotate a full 360-degrees, but it also creates a quieter ride.
The tire's tread pattern mimics brain coral and is designed with multidirectional blocks and groves that work to work to ensure safe contact with the ground. The base of the groves employs elements inspired by natural sponges, stiffening when dry and softening when wet to resist aquaplaning, the company claimed. The feature also absorbs water from the roadway and ejects it from the tire's footprint using centrifugal force, Goodyear said.
“Though this is purely a concept tire. It showcases some of Goodyear's best innovative thinking and how the needs of future drivers can be addressed,” Jean-Claude Kihn, president of Goodyear EMEA, said in a news release. “We believe the Eagle-360 concept tire could deliver a safe and sustainable solution for our end consumer who is likely to drive or ride in autonomous cars in the future.
“We also hope it serves as inspiration for the automotive industry as we continue to find solutions for the future, together.”
Each year, Time's technology editors review recent inventions and compile a list they say represents products “that are making the world better, smarter and—in some cases—a little more fun.” Other inventions included in this year's list of lauded products were Nike's Hyperadapt 1.0 self-lacing shoes, a folding bicycle helmet by Morpher and the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle.
The list of the inventions selected for the award is available here.