Goodyear came out with a new concept tire that could help merge travel through road and the air. The Aero is modeled similarly to a VTOL aircraft (Vertical Take-Off and Landing), utilizing the spokes in the tire as propellor blades during flight. Ideally, this would allow a car to take off in flight from a stable surface with no issues.
The tire is designed in such a way that it is flexible enough to support driving on the road, while still being able to act as propellors in flight. To ensure that the tire can achieve this while dampening the effects of driving on roads, the design is non-pneumatic, which means that it does not rely on air pressure to provide stability and support for the vehicle’s weight. Additionally, magnetic forces would provide frictionless propulsion and create the high rotating speeds needed to put the car in the air when the wheels are tilted upward. The Aero additionally includes optical sensors and artificial intelligence to monitor the state of the tire and ‘communicate’ with the car about road conditions and the state of the tire.
Goodyear was firm in their assertion that the Aero is a conceptual design, and far from being ready for implementation. However, Goodyear hopes that the Aero can start a discussion on the future development of tires and transportation. According to Chris Helsel, Goodyear’s chief technology officer, “With mobility companies looking to the sky for the answer to the challenges of urban transport and congestion, our work on advanced tire architectures and materials led us to imagine a wheel that could serve both as a traditional tire on the road and as a propulsion system in the sky.”
Why it’s important: Goodyear’s Aero raises a discussion about the future of tires when daily transportation no longer takes place solely on roads. When the next innovation in the transportation industry occurs, it will likely be influenced by the discussions on hybrid technologies that are being explored today.
Sources // Motor Authority, CNN, NBC News