For the self-driving cars of the future the standard ring-shaped rubber tire will not do. Not for tire manufacturer Goodyear anyway. They've recently released a video for their concept tire for the autonomous cars of tomorrow.
It's called the Eagle-360 and was unveiled at the 86th Geneva International Motor Show. It's a spherical tire connected to the car by magnetic levitation (it suspends the tire from the body using magnetic fields), which means it can rotate on any axis making the car much more manoeuvrable, allowing it to move sideways too.
The 3D printed tread would feature biomimetic grooves which imitate brain coral and, like a natural sponge, soften in wet conditions to combat aquaplaning and improve performance—dispensing the absorbed water using the centrifugal force of the moving tire—and hardening in dry conditions.
The tread would be customizable to create different types to reflect where you live, your driving style, and the type of terrain you'll be driving on.
The Eagle-360 would also feature embedded sensors which would assess road conditions to relay back to the car's system and other nearby autonomous vehicles. The tire also has tech to monitor tread and tire pressure so it can rotate itself for even wear and extended mileage.
"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." Joseph Zekoski, Goodyear's senior vice president and chief technical officer, said. "Goodyear's concept tires play a dual role in that future both as creative platforms to push the boundaries of conventional thinking and test beds for next-generation technologies."