Goodyear unveils new tyre concept for application in autonomous and flying cars

Mar 5, 2019   Technology

The Goodyear AERO concept, a two-in-one tyre designed for the autonomous, flying cars of the future, was unveiled in Geneva. This concept would work both as a tyre for driving on the road and a "propeller" for flying through the sky.

"For over 120 years Goodyear has obsessively pursued innovations and inventions, partnering with the pioneers driving change and discovery in transport," said Chris Helsel, Chief Technology Officer at Goodyear. "With mobility companies looking to the sky for the answer to the challenges of urban transport and congestion, our work on advanced tyre architectures and materials led us to imagine a wheel that could serve both as a traditional tyre on the road and as a propulsion system in the sky."

 

The AERO is a multimodal tilt-rotor concept. It would serve as a drive train to transfer and absorb forces to and from the road in a traditional orientation and an aircraft propulsion system to provide lift in another orientation. With capable vehicles, the AERO would give future commuters the freedom to move seamlessly from the road to the sky.

 

The concept's spokes would provide support to carry the weight of the vehicle and act as fan blades to provide lift when the tyre is tilted. This unique airless tyre uses a non-pneumatic structure that is flexible enough to dampen shocks when driving on the road, and strong enough to rotate at the high speeds necessary for the rotors to create vertical lift.

 

The AERO concept would use magnetic force to provide frictionless propulsion. This would enable the high rotating speeds required to drive the vehicle on the ground and, when the wheel is tilted, lift a vehicle into the air and propel it forward.

 

The new concept would use light-based, fibre optic sensors to monitor road conditions, tyre wear and the structural integrity of the tyre itself.

 

The concept would also feature an embedded A.I. processor that would combine information from the tyre's sensors with data from vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. The A.I. processor would analyse these streams of data to recommend a course of action - allowing a vehicle to adapt to a flying or driving mode – and identify and resolve potential tyre-related issues before they happen. 

 

While the AERO is a purely conceptual design, some of its featured technologies, such as a non-pneumatic structure and intelligent tyre capabilities, are being developed by Goodyear today, while others might become the basis for new ideas and potentially new products in the future.

 

"Goodyear's concepts are meant to trigger a debate on the tyres and transport technologies for a new mobility ecosystem," Helsel concluded.

 

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