Could Magnetic Suspension Spherical Tyres Be The Future?

by admin on June 13, 2016

spherical-autonomous-tyresYes, you did read that right, although it might be a lot to take in, so let us break it down for you. Goodyear have set out to effectively do what clichés have been giving others the credit for for years, and are actually attempting to reinvent the wheel.

The first part of doing this was to look at the shape and create a spherically designed prototype, capable of offering a more fluid negotiation of space. Goodyear Dunlop’s director of consumer tyre technology, Percy Lemaire, offered his thoughts on why they went with this. He said: “Because the tyre can roll in any direction, providing incredible manoeuvrability and allowing a vehicle to move in any direction.”

The new 360 Concept has absolutely no mechanical connection to the car, and as touched upon already used magnetic levitation. If you’re thinking that it seems a bit futuristic, Lemaire says not only are there working examples evident in the rail industry, but it would also use a lot less energy that traditional mechanical methods. He said: “Although we haven’t entered into the detail of executing the concept at this stage, our initial calculations show we would only need around 50W of electrical power per wheel to support the car. The majority of cars on the road today produce between 80bhp and 200bhp and that would be easily achievable with our system.”

The design team implemented a biomimicry technique to determine a material and pattern capable of supporting the design. This means that they mimicked an existing naturally occurring pattern, and found that brain coral had the kind of structure they were looking for. “Its surface benefits from water streams coming from any direction,” explains Lemaire. “Mimicking that enabled us to design a tread that is effective in all directions.”

So why have Goodyear chosen now to create this concept? Lemaire said: “We envision that by 2030 most vehicles will be autonomous. Capturing information will have to be done in a different way. We believe the tyre will not only connect the road to the vehicle but inform the vehicle too.”

For all the latest self-driving car news, stay tuned to the Eddie Wright blog!

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