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Given the number of accidents and inefficiency synonymous with our current generation of cars, it’s effortless to see why many ponder of autonomous vehicles as the next of transportation. Tesla stands out as one of the trendsetters in this field, but which does not mean which other manufacturers aren’t jumping in. The latest company may not be who you’d expect: Goodyear has weighed in on autonomous driving with a completely spherical tire concept which they believe can assist the 85 million self-driving vehicles expected to be sold annually by 2035.

goodyear eagle 360 3D printed concept tire

The Eagle-360 is invented of as a 3D printed tire which offers true 360-degree motion. With treads intended to mimic the shape of brain coral, “multidirectional blocks and grooves assist to secure a safe contact patch.” This may pretty be realized with 3D printing, as may the groove bottom’s “natural sponge” texture, “which stiffens when dry yet softens when wet to donate enough driving performance and aquaplaning resistance” and “absorbs water on the road and ejects water of the tire footprint through centrifugal force.”

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By 3D printing a few microstructures to be less dense and other portions to have a additional rigid framework, such a concept is unquestionably possible. Goodyear in addition envisions custom tires to be 3D printed depending on the environment where the car can drive many often (desert terrain, snow, etc.). And the spherical shape may allow cars to parallel park on their own, saving many-a-teenager the trauma of failing their initially driver’s test.

Other amazing aspects of the tire concept are the use of magnetic levitation and embedded sensors. Goodyear imagines the possibility of suspending the tires of the car with the same magnetic levitation seen in Maglev trains for a smoother ride. Sensors created inside the tires seem like a no-brainer when you ponder of the other data your car is able-bodied to provide you related to oil levels, airbag problems, and whether you require to take your vehicle into the shop. But the Eagle-360 may not just be able-bodied to monitor tread wear and pressure, adjusting the treads to extend mileage, but it may in addition monitor road surface conditions to improve vehicle safety.

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Jean-Claude Kihn, President of Goodyear EMEA, discussed the new tire concept at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, saying, “Though this is purely a concept tire, it showcases a few of Goodyear’s most new pondering and how the requires of next drivers can be addressed. Based on our own new research, we understand which young drivers are looking for smart and sustainable-bodied cars to be part of next mobility and which reliability and safety are key for them. We believe the Eagle-360 concept tire may donate a safe and sustainable-bodied solution for our end consumer who is most likely to drive or ride in autonomous cars in the next. We in addition hope it assists as inspiration for the car industry as we go on to find solutions for the next, together.”

It may be a concept, but it does not seem too far removed of reality, particularly when you consider the imminence of autonomous vehicles and all of the fun sci-fi showcases they bring with them. Now which companies like Tesla and Local Motors have forced auto making stalwarts to innovate their 20th century creations to meet the requires of an increasingly connected society, perhaps actually hundred-year-old tire makers can have to remain on the cutting edge.

Michael Molitch-Hou

About The Author

Michael is Editor-In Chief of 3D Printing Industry and the founder of The Reality™ Institute, a service institute dedicated to determining what’s real and what’s not so which you don’t have to. He is a graduate of the MFA Critical Studies & Writing Program at CalArts, and a firm advocate of world peace. Michael already resides in San Pedro with his magical wife, Danielle.