Goodyear’s Eagle-360 Is A… Spherical Tire?

Goodyear wants to reinvent the tire with a couple of concepts that look nothing like the ones that are around for more than a century.

Shown at the Geneva Motor Show, they are meant to “reshape the future for autonomous cars”.

The spherical-shaped Eagle-360 was designed with maneuverability, connectivity and bio-mimicry for autonomous mobility in mind, while the IntelliGrip, featuring advanced sensor and treadwear technology, is dedicated to the self-driving vehicles we’re experiencing now.

“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. Goodyear’s concept tires play a dual role in that future both as creative platforms to push the boundaries of conventional thinking and test beds for next-generation technologies”, said Joseph Zekoski, Goodyear’s senior vice president and chief technical officer.

The Eagle-360 tech allows the car to move in all directions, coping with space limitations (tight parking spaces), as well as offering additional safety for passengers. The concept has embedded sensors that communicate road and weather conditions to the vehicle’s control system, and tread and tire pressure constantly regulates even wear on the spherical tires. The tires would rely on magnetic levitation to suspend the car, resulting in a smooth and quite ride, while their brain coral pattern behaves like a natural sponge – designed to stiffen in dry conditions and soften when wet.

If that sounds to sci-fi and the future scares you, then Goodyear’s IntelliGrip solution is a much easier to comprehend. The IntelliGrip concept tire is designed to communicate with autonomous vehicle control systems, sensing road surface and weather conditions for improved driving safety and performance.

In other words, the tire can sense many road conditions, including both surface and weather conditions, it can adapt to road conditions when it senses a slippery surface and it has custom Goodyear-developed algorithms that account for variables such as inflation pressure and tire temperature. Pretty neat, huh?