Mechanics & Locomotion

Nov 1, 2017

CRAZY URBAN

Can you think of something better than a spherical tire that can levitate? What about if it could levitate and change shape, also? This new proposal is way ahead of its time. It is, most definitely, part of the future, it's not yet part of the present.

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By HANS GRUBER

There is no pause for the world of mobility, locomotion and mechanics. This is a boiling bubble and the best proposals arise almost daily. This time the American manufacturer Goodyear presented a spherical tire, that uses mag-lev (magnetic levitation) technology and artificial intelligence (yes, it combines both).

As for what the brand as already shown, it also uses 3D printing technology to create a brand new kind of surface which will guarantee full proof security.

We'll begin by the end, which makes no difference: there is not a single car, today, that can apply this kind of tire to its conception. So, we're starting by the zero point.

But the concept itself is very much to keep in mind, so some manufacturer (we'll see which shows up first) takes the concept seriously and creates a car suitable to use this kind of tire.

The concept tire is 3D-printed with a super-flexible polymer that's designed to stretch like human skin.

This outer layer covers a foam-like material that is strong enough to remain flexible despite the weight of a vehicle. Thanks to 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.

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 thanks to 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.

It also contains sensors that gather data about the road you're traveling on. If the tire senses wet pavement, the tire forms into a dimpled surface for better traction. Dry pavement gets a smooth surface. The tire also uses this information to inform the car's braking and handling characteristics. It can then take all that information and share it with other connected cars to alert them of changing road conditions.

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. And, powered by Artificial Intelligence, the Eagle 360 Urban learns from previous actions how to optimize future responses.

The Artificial Intelligence unit serves as the 'brain' of the tire and enables the tire to continuously sense the road condition and the surrounding environment in real-time and check on its own status in real-time and Interact with other vehicles and all of the elements making up the Internet of Things to share the information it has captured and lessons learned.

The spherical shape moves in all directions and contributes to comfort, safety and manoeuvrability to match the demands of autonomous mobility. Plus, it also copes with space limitations in smart cities (smaller parking spaces, platoon driving, manoeuvring and it's easy to replace...).

Contacts * The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co * www.goodyear.com * 200 Innovation Way Akron, Ohio 44316-0001

* Tel: (330) 796-2121 * Fax: (330) 796-2222

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