Continuous innovation and changes in the current technologies had improved the car parts so dramatically if compared to the past car. Where previously the car battery was only 6V but with the addition of many electronic items it was upgraded to 42V, the turbulence of the oil price had led to the popularity of hybrid car, the manual transmission had been replaced by computer controlled automatic transmission, the transmission may reach double digit in the future, the safety of the car had been upgraded and some new safety had been introduced like the autonomous driving and finally the autonomous and the electric car may well be the drive of the future.
Despite all the changes, the one thing that had been constant in the car is the car donut or popularly known as the car tire. It still the old round black tire with thread. Since the introduction of the radial tire by Michelin, the tire had been the same design with a different thread and reduced rolling resistance. However, some of the tire manufacturers are making an innovation to the tire to make it more futuristic and replacing the old design and in some cases making all the necessary innovation to enable to the tire to interact with the user and vice versa.
The Italian tire maker Pirelli, for example, does not make any radical changes to the tire design for now but they want to make a tire that can interact with the drivers or in simple term a smart tire. Introducing the Pirelli Connesso and at the first glance it looks like a normal Pirelli P Zero but a sensor embedded in the tire groove is connected to a control unit and to a smartphone running an app, which is connected to the Pirelli Cloud. These tires will then transmit all the necessary data of the tire like the tire temperature, the air in the tire, using the geo position to help the driver to find the nearest workshop and make an appointment for replacing or changing the tire via the smartphone and much more. Unlike the current Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) it was designed to provide the information during the car is stationary and when the car is moving.
For a long time, the car tire was made from the rubber but Continental tire is working on to find an alternative for the rubber and they had resort to the dandelion root and calling it as a dandelion tire. The reason for Continental to use the latex obtained from the dandelion root is not only to find an alternative for rubber but at the some helping to reduce the CO2. The dandelion can be cultivated in the land that is unsuitable for the food crop hence making a unique plantation beside a tire plant and at the same protecting the tire manufacturer from the volatility of the rubber price in the world.
The present tire is prone to the flat tire or blowout and due to this Michelin had created a tire that is called as VISION and it eliminated the flat or blowout by going airless and at some time it is 3D printed tire using the recycled material like wood chips, straw, sugar byproducts, and orange peels. This tire also will be covered in a thin layer of rubber which makes up the tire’s tread. The onboard sensors monitor the tire’s condition and notify the user when they need redoing and since this is a 3D printed the user can also choose to alter the tire thread based on the climate condition at that time.
The Korean tire maker Hankook meanwhile had created 3 types of future tire concept naming them as Boostrac, Alpike, and HyBlade. Each tire has a unique futuristic design where Boostrac tire is essentially a dune buggy-type wheel made up of hexagonal tread blocks that can expand, changing up the traction to plow through sand or scale a steep mountain path. Alpike tire meanwhile is the tire that can expand its circumference, making driving through snow much easier and finally, the HyBlade tire had a water-wheel-like design and pop-out fins to paddle through the water like a riverboat. Maybe the future car tire can drive through the water with this Hyblade tire. This tire had been envisioned by Hankook collaboration with the University of Design, Engineering, and Business in Pforzheim, Germany.
However unlike Michelin, Hankook, Pirelli and Continental whom still maintaining the donut design but improving it by making a smart tire like Pirelli, using an alternative like Continental , airless and 3D printed thread like Michelin and stunning design by Hankook, the most radical change to the tire come from the American tire manufacturer Goodyear who had created a sphere tire concept for the future. This tire was called as Eagle 360 Urban and the reason for Goodyear to envisioned a sphere tire in the future is when the tire’s bionic skin is damaged, the sensors in the tread can locate the puncture. The tire 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 sphere tire advantage is best explained on the video below.
The tire of the future is looking toward to be a smart tire, airless tire with a 3D printed, using another alternative than the rubber, had a futuristic design and best of all if Goodyear vision had been a reality then the tire of the future will be in a sphere shape. Like all the car parts that had been changed to accommodate to the current technologies and user demands, the car tire too can have a radical change from their predecessor. In the future, maybe with all this vision combined the tire of the future will be a smart tire that can be able to interact with the user and at some time eliminate the flat tire and tire blowout altogether.