The materials, uses, and technical aspects of the wheel have changed throughout history, but
the basic shape has remained the same. Goodyear is hoping to change that. The company recently unveiled a conceptual design for a spherical tire with 360-degree treads for "autonomous-capable vehicles," according to Market Wired.
Called the Eagle-360, each of the concept tires is 3D-printed with tread patterns that mimic the folds of brain coral. This means that the grooves get harder when dry and more pliable when wet, providing for better performance and resistance from aquaplaning. Instead of being held by a rim, the Goodyear tires would be connected to the car by magnetic levitation. Sensors inside each tire would transmit information about road and weather conditions to the car's computer so that the self-driving system could make the necessary adjustments for a safer journey.
The new design could also help drivers who struggle with parking. Goodyear suggests that the spherical tires' increased mobility will make it easier to pull into parking spaces. It could even transform the parking lot industry. "This could significantly increase the capacity of public parking areas without increasing their size," according to the company.
Goodyear hasn't established a timeline for when the Eagle-360 would hit the roads, but Jean-Claude Kihn, President of Goodyear EMEA, said in a press release that he hopes the concept "serves as inspiration for the automotive industry as we continue to find solutions for the future, together."
Watch the video above to see how the Eagle-360 tire is designed to operate in the real world.
[h/t Market Wired]