A completely innovative and at first mind-boggling concept has been presented by tyre giant Goodyear at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
A two-in-one “tyres with wings” is the concept, and it’s one that truly has to been seen to believed.
The idea is that the tyre of a car might also serve one day as the propulsion mechanism – a fold out design in which aerofoils on the tyre provide uplift, allowing the driver to alleviate him or herself of the tedium of traffic, rise into the air and zoom off to work or home above the madding crowds.
“For over 120 years Goodyear has obsessively pursued innovations and inventions, partnering with the pioneers driving change and discovery in transport,” said CTO at Goodyear Chris Helsel in a statement.
“With mobility companies looking to the sky for the answer to the challenges of urban transport and congestion, our work on advanced tyre architectures and materials led us to imagine a wheel that could serve both as a traditional tyre on the road and as a propulsion system in the sky.”
Dubbed “Aero”, Goodyear says the tyre-to-propellor concept consists of the following mechanisms:
- A multimodal tilt-rotor concept serves as drivetrain to both transfer and absorb forces to and from the road in a vertical orientation, while an aircraft propulsion system would provide lift when tilted horizontally.
- The tyres would be airless (non-pnuematic), with the spokes bearing the weight of the vehicle.
- When tilted, the strong, aerofoil-shaped spokes act as fan blades rotating at high speed to provide vertical lift.
- The unique airless tyre structure is also flexible, dampening shocks when driving on the road,
- Magnetic force would be used to provide frictionless propulsion, enabling extremely fast rotation required to drive the vehicle on the ground and, when the wheel is tilted, lift a vehicle into the air and propel it forward.
- Light-based, fiber optic sensors monitor road conditions, tyre wear and the structural integrity of the tyre itself.
- An embedded A.I. processor combines information from the tyre’s sensors with vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication data, then analyses these streams of data to recommend a course of action – for example, allowing a vehicle to adapt to a flying or driving mode, or identifying and resolve potential tyre-related issues before they happen.
As is often the case with concepts shown at motor shows, Goodyear’s presentation is more an opportunity to get a taste of market interest and consumer reception.
However Goodyear says that some of the technologies featured in the concept – in particular the airless tyres and “smart tyres” – are already in development, while others may one day become reality.
“Goodyear’s concepts are meant to trigger a debate on the tyres and transport technologies for a new mobility ecosystem,” Helsel says.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.