Goodyear has revealed its vision for the future of tires with three new concepts: the CityCube, the Eagle 360 Urban and IntelliGrip Urban.
The CityCube features sensor technology and mixed fitment designed for the Toyota i-TRIL concept car unveiled at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show. With advanced sensor technology and a unique tread design, this concept tire can identify a variety of road conditions and transmit this data to the vehicle to support the advanced collision prevention systems.
The front wheels on the Toyota i-TRIL tilt inspired Goodyear’s designers to think about motorcycle tire design. As a result, they feature a unique contour shape and mixed fitment, a tall and narrow tire at the front and a wider asymmetric design for the rear. This reportedly helps enhance safe driving and removes water for the larger rear tire, providing better grip. The rear tires have an asymmetric design with a more solid inside part for more cornering stability.
The company has also introduced a new Hologram Texture to the design with gradient sidewall colors.
Tailored to meet Toyota’s exacting requirements, CityCube is designed to be lightweight with low rolling resistance, which is an important feature for future electric vehicle tires, according to the company. It also has a reduced groove volume, providing higher mileage and reduces noise levels.
The Eagle 360 Urban is a 3D printed sphere powered by Artificial Intelligence with the ability to sense, decide, transform and interact.
“A revolution will take place at the intersection of autonomy, mobility and connectivity. As this unfolds, tire technology will be even more important than it is today,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, president of Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa. “To safely navigate their surroundings, the autonomous vehicles of the future will need to learn to cope with the millions of possible unknowns we face in every day driving scenarios. To do so, they will need access to data and the ability to learn and adapt.”
The tire features bionic skin with a sensor network that allows it to check on its own status and gather information on its environment, including the road surface. Via connectivity with other vehicles as well as infrastructure, traffic and mobility management systems, the Eagle 360 Urban captures information on its surroundings in real-time.
By combining these sources of information and processing them instantaneously using neural networks trained with deep learning algorithms, the Eagle 360 Urban decides the most appropriate course of action. It then learns from previous actions how to optimize future responses.
Made of super-elastic polymer, the tire’s bionic skin has a flexibility similar to that of human skin, allowing it to expand and contract. This outer layer covers a foam-like material that is strong enough to remain flexible despite the weight of a vehicle. Because of this flexibility, actuator elements beneath the tire’s surface, which are components that change shape with an electrical input, working like human muscles, can re-shape the individual sections of the tire’s tread design, adding ‘dimples’ for wet conditions or smoothing the tread for dry conditions. A new tread with a safer contact patch is thus deployed.
Using this morphing tread, the Eagle 360 Urban transforms and adapts to changing road and weather conditions. It can then interact to share the information it has captured with other vehicles.
When the tire’s bionic skin is damaged, the sensors in the tread can locate the puncture. The tire then rotates to create a different contact patch. This reduces pressure on the puncture and allows the self-healing process to start. The self-healing works using materials which are specifically designed to be able to flow towards the puncture. They react physically and chemically with each other to form new molecular bonds, closing the puncture.
The IntelliGrip Urban aims to provide enhanced safety and energy efficiency, offering urban fleet solutions for future-generation autonomous electric vehicles.
“This is crucial for ‘Mobility as a Service’ providers to offer improved mobility to their customers,” said Kihn.
With its advanced Sensor-in-Tire technology, the tire is designed to support autonomous vehicle control systems and enhance passenger safety by sensing road and weather conditions. By gathering this data and sending it directly to the vehicle’s computer system, it enables the car to optimize speed, braking, handling and stability.
“Future-generation autonomous fleets will be operating in a complex environment, with other vehicles, drivers, pedestrians and data from all of the elements making up the Internet of Things. Tires such as the Goodyear IntelliGrip Urban could play a critical role in this evolving ecosystem,” said the company in a news release. “Furthermore, fleet operators will benefit from the tire’s tall and narrow shape, which reduces rolling resistance to increase energy efficiency and range of electrical vehicle fleets in an urban environment.”
The IntelliGrip Urban’s sensor technology would also allow operators to precisely identify and resolve tire-related issues before they happen.