In case you hadn’t noticed, technology is having a moment. Every day, some news story breaks about how the world is going to change forever because of a breakthrough, and the automotive world is no different.
For years, manufacturers and tire companies have been looking for solutions to the problems of current, air-filled tires. One of the significant issues, for instance, is the fact that despite all the advances in technology, car tires are still prone to punctures. Driving over nails, glass, or even thorns can result in holes that force drivers to call up a roadside rescue.
Now, though, a broad range of people from across the sector are investigating whether they can do things better.
Next time you go for a tire replacement, imagine if the garage asked you whether you wanted it 3D printed. According to an article in Interesting Engineering Magazine, such a day could be just around the corner. Global tire brand Michelin recently released its Vision concept, a tire that the company said it would print from bio-renewable sources. What’s more, the structure of the type would mimic that of biology and feature irregular patterns of rubber, arranged in a special shock-absorbing lattice.
A Moss-Covered Tires That Clean The Air
The problem of vehicle pollution is endemic in towns and cities across the world. Many city centers are no-go areas for people living with COPD or asthma because of the sheer level of diesel pollution.
Tire companies, though, are looking for ways to use their products to enhance air quality.
One idea from Goodyear, for instance, is to use moss to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The moss growing on the wheel, the company said, would photosynthesis, absorbing carbon from the air. It would also use moisture from the road to power photosynthesis that would then provide energy for onboard electronics.
Adaptive Tire Technology For Wet And Dry Driving
Imagine if you had a tire that would change as you drove along, according to the weather conditions. It sounds futuristic, but big tire company Continental has a product in the works that will do just that.
The wheel, the company says, features a series of “micro-compressors” – tiny air pockets that adjust the firmness of the wheel along its surface. It hardens them in some areas and softens them in others to give the tire a new profile.
Airless Pneumatic Tires
Many people worry that airless tires won’t perform as well as their traditional counterparts, but Hankook – an automotive parts manufacturer – wants to prove the naysayers wrong.
In recent months, the company released a prototype of its tubeless iFlex design. The iFlex uses successive layers of deformable plastic mesh between the inner and the outer casing of the wheel, which the company says doesn’t compromise on hardness, stability, or slalom performance. The company expects to release its new tires on electric cars first before going more mainstream.
So there you have it: the many ways in which the world of tire technology is changing for the better.