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Tyre of the future

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Goodyear claims it 360 concept tyre is the first to be powered by Artificial Intelligence – which makes it capable of sensing, deciding, transforming and interacting with its surroundings

Goodyear has revealed its long-term vision for future smart, connected tyres. In an evolving mobility ecosystem defined by the transition to driverless vehicles and shared mobility in urban centers, the company aims to revolutionise the interaction between tyres, vehicles and their surroundings.

Goodyear unveiled the Eagle 360 Urban, its latest concept tyre, at last month’s Geneva International Motor Show. The 3-D printed sphere is the first concept tyre to be powered by Artificial Intelligence and able to sense, decide, transform and interact.

“A revolution will take place at the intersection of autonomy, mobility and connectivity. As this unfolds, tyre technology will be even more important than it is today,” says Jean-Claude Kihn, president of Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“To safely navigate their surroundings, autonomous vehicles of the future will need to learn to cope with the millions of possible unknowns we face in every day driving scenarios. To do so they will need access to data and the ability to learn and adapt.”

Last year, with the Eagle 360 concept tyre, Goodyear presented a unique, multi-directional sphere to match the demands of autonomous driving through increased levels of comfort, safety and maneuverability. The positive feedback received encouraged the manufacturer to take this concept a step further.

This year, with the Eagle 360 Urban, Goodyear has again pushed boundaries, aiming to illustrate a vision of how the future could look. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, the company’s engineers have given the concept tyre a ‘brain.’

Combined with a bionic skin and morphing tread, the Eagle 360 Urban has the ability to put knowledge into practice. A statement issued by the company says: “The tyre will become part of a vehicle’s ‘nervous system’ and the connected world of the Internet of Things. That way, it is ready to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances, as well as the evolving needs of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) for fleets and their users.”

According to the statement, the tyre’s bionic skin features a sensor network that allows it to check its status and gather information on its environment, including the road surface. Via connectivity with other vehicles as well as infrastructure, traffic and mobility management systems, the Eagle 360 Urban also captures information on its surroundings in real-time.

By combining these sources of information and processing them instantaneously using neural networks trained with deep learning algorithms, the Eagle 360 Urban decides the most appropriate course of action. And, powered by Artificial Intelligence, the Eagle 360 Urban learns from previous actions how to optimise future responses.

According to the statement: “Made of super-elastic polymer, the tyre’s bionic skin has flexibility similar to that of human skin, allowing it to expand and contract. This outer layer covers a foam-like material that is strong enough to remain flexible despite the weight of a vehicle.

“Thanks to this flexibility, actuator elements beneath the tyre’s surface, which are components that change shape with an electrical input, working like human muscles, can re-shape the individual sections of the tyre’s tread design, adding ‘dimples’ for wet conditions or smoothing the tread for dry conditions. A new tread with a safer contact patch is thus deployed.”

By using its morphing tread, the tyre is said to be able to transform and adapt to changing road and weather conditions. It can then interact to share the information it has captured, the related action and its success with other vehicles and with all of the elements that make up the Internet of Things.

When the tyre’s bionic skin is damaged, sensors in the tread can locate the puncture. The tyre then rotates to create a different contact patch. This reduces pressure on the puncture and allows the self-healing process to start.

“The self-healing works thanks to materials which are specifically designed to be able to flow towards the puncture. They react physically and chemically with each other to form new molecular bonds, closing the puncture,” the statement says.

According to Goodyear, this new generation of tyres will create added value for OEM partners and the evolving providers of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) by maximising uptime and providing proactive maintenance.

For the everyday commuter they will offer an improved experience by adding a new dimension to the safety performance and learning capabilities of autonomous driving.

FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF GOODYEAR’S 360

The Artificial Intelligence unit serves as the ‘brain’ of the tyre and enables it to:

  • Continuously sense road condition and the surrounding environment in real-time and check on its own status in real-time.
  • Process the information it captures using neural networks trained with deep learning algorithms to decide what to do and learn for the future.
  • Transform using its own morphing tread and tyre/vehicle interface.
  • Interact with other vehicles and all of the elements making up the Internet of Things to share the information it has captured and lessons learned.
  • The bionic skin’s high-sensory capacity tread, with its sensor network, captures information on road and weather conditions and transmits this input to:
  1. a) The tyre to optimise morphing of the tread;
  2. b) The vehicle’s ‘nervous system’ to improve the car’s braking, handling and efficiency;
  3. c) All of the elements that make up the Internet of Things to inform other tyres and vehicles expected to take the same road.

The intelligent morphing tread prepares the vehicle for the unexpected by proactively providing safety under all conditions. Depending on the road and weather conditions, the most appropriate tread pattern appears autonomously with the help of the bionic skin of the tyre.

The bionic skin allows self-healing repair. And, in combination with the Artificial Intelligence unit, it measures current and predicts future tyre wear to allow automated tyre management, enabling predictive and proactive maintenance.

This feature maximises uptime and safety, offering an improved mobility user experience at all times for Mobility as a Service (MaaS) providers.

The spherical shape moves in all directions and contributes to comfort, safety and maneuverability to match the demands of autonomous mobility and mobility as a service. The shape also copes with space limitations in smart cities, including smaller parking spaces, platoon driving and manoeuvering…

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