3/5/2016 | 1 MINUTE READ

Goodyear Rolls Out Concept Tires for Self-Driving Cars

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. unveiled two new concept tires designed for autonomous and connected vehicles at this week's Geneva auto show.

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. unveiled two new concept tires designed for autonomous and connected vehicles at this week's Geneva auto show.

The company reasons that tires will become an even more integral part of next-generation vehicles as drivers take a less hands-on role with the advent of automated driving features. Goodyear says its goal is to help improve tire safety, reliability and performance.

Goodyear's Eagle-360 concept tire is spherical rather than toroidal to provide greater maneuverability, connectivity and biomimicry, according to the company. The round shape allows the car to move in any direction, which would allow easier access to tight parking spaces.

Embedded sensors in the Eagle-360 relay road and weather conditions to the vehicle control system and adjust speed and other vehicle systems accordingly. Information also could be transmitted to nearby vehicles, Goodyear notes.

The 3-D-printed tread mimics the pattern of brain coral and behaves like a natural sponge that stiffens in dry conditions and softens when wet to improve driving performance and minimize the potential for hydroplaning, Goodyear says.

The Eagle-360 tires would be "mounted" to the car by what's described as a magnetic levitation system, which Goodyear says will deliver a quieter and smoother ride. The company also is working with carmakers to adapt the Eagle-360 concept to their needs and enhance connectivity with features such as electronic stability control, braking and suspension systems. Performance also could be enhanced by customizing design based on location and driving behavior.

Goodyear's other new concept is called the IntelliGrip, which packages a host of sensors and features in a more traditional shape. The various sensors monitor road and weather conditions, then communicate with other vehicle systems to optimize performance.

Vehicle speed can be adjusted when the tire senses a rainy or slippery road surface. The technology also can be used to shorten a vehicle's stopping distance, tighten cornering response, optimize stability and support collision prevention systems, Goodyear says.

IntelliGrip also is outfitted with a specially designed tread and advanced sensors that assess the condition of the tires and signal when they should be repositioned on the vehicle to reduce wear and enhance performance.