Tyre manufacturer Goodyear has unveiled a concept tyre designed for use by autonomous and flying cars.
The Goodyear Aero concept is a two-in-one tyre that 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,” says Goodyear chief technology officer Chris Helsel.
“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.”
With capable vehicles, the Aero should give future commuters the freedom to move seamlessly from the road to the sky.
The Aero concept includes a number of interesting features.
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.
The 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, says Goodyear.
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 Aero would also use light-based, fiber-optic sensors to monitor road conditions, tyre wear and the structural integrity of the tyre
The concept would also feature an embedded artificial intelligence (AI) processor that would combine information from the tyre’s
sensors, with data from vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to infrastructure communication.
The AI processor would analyse these streams of data to recommend a course of action, allowing a vehicle to opt for
flying or driving mode, and to 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,” notes Helsel.