The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
N Adarsh Varma, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.
An autonomous car which is also known as a driver-less car or self-driving car or robotic car is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. Autonomous vehicles detect surroundings using radar, lidar, GPS, Odometry, and computer vision. With the development of technology, the growth of automobile industry has been constantly rising which has led to the development of autonomous cars from automobiles.
At the 86th Geneva International Motor show, Goodyear tire and rubber company introduced two concept tires designed for the autonomous cars of tomorrow which includes a spherical tire that allows cars to drive sideways and one that can sense road conditions and adapt according to them. The ‘Eagle-360’ concept was designed with key features of maneuverability, connectivity and biomimicry for autonomous mobility. Together with ‘Intelligrip’ which features advanced sensors and checking of wear and tear of the tires, Goodyear believes that this concept will be adopted soon into autonomous driving vehicles.
The spherical tire is linked to the car through magnetic levitation rather than axles which allows it to rotate on any axis in any direction. The multi-orientation of the spherical-shaped tire contributes to the safety of the passengers, as well as checking with the space limitations in the urban environments where parking is tight. The embedded sensors of the ‘eagle-360’ further increase safety by communicating road and weather conditions to the vehicle’s control system and other nearby cars. It would also monitor tread and tire pressure to evenly regulate damage of the 360 degree tire to extend serviceability.
The tread of the tires is designed with a 3D-printed biomimetic design which imitates the pattern of brain coral. The Goodyear tells that this allows the tread to act like a natural sponge, so it stiffens in dry conditions and softens in the wet to reduce aquaplaning and improve handling.
From the words of Joseph Zekoski, Goodyear’s senior vice president and chief technical officer “By steadily reducing the driver interaction and intervention in self-driving vehicles, tires will play an even more important role as the primary link to the road,” we can say that the tires are very important for future autonomous cars.
Goodyear’s concept tires play a dual role in the future both as creative platforms to push the boundaries of conventional thinking and as test beds for next-generation technologies. Once this concept has been successfully implemented this would completely change the automobile industry paving a new direction towards the autonomous cars in the future.