Autonomous Cars Of The Future Could Have Spherical Tires
When the movie I,Robot came out, one of the most interesting things in the movie was the futuristic autonomous car that Will Smith’s character drove in the movie. Despite the cheesy moments where he has to drive it himself because he doesn’t trust technology, I almost noticed that the wheels of the car where spherical — at least when it was lifted up in the huge garage of the corporate building he was investigating. I remember thinking how cool that would be, but I never in a million years would know how that sort of technology could work until now.
Ubiquitous tire manufacturer Goodyear is apparently trying to make the spherical tire go from science fiction to a reality. With the introduction of more driverless vehicles, Goodyear will introduce what they’re calling the Goodyear Eagle-360.
Introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, the Goodyear Eagle-360 is a 3D-printed tire. It’s designed specifically for driverless cars. What makes it even more amazing is that since it is a spherical tire, it can rotate in any direction. I’m sure this would be good news for anyone who dislikes parallel parking.
The tire is designed to have the texture of brain coral, and I think they pretty much nailed the look they were going with when they made the design to look like that. The tread of the tire works like brain coral in that in mimics a sponge: It can soften when when to soak up water and increase the grip it has on the road.
But how does one actually put in a spherical tire? With tires now, you have to bolt them in. How can you install a tire that is a ball? If you’re thinking magnets, you’re right. Goodyear believes that installing the tires will use existing magnetic-levitation technology. The current problem with that: it would add thousands of pounds of weight to the vehicle if you were to add the magnets needed to do this.
So, until the technology comes along to make the weight lower to use these tires, it seems that it’s still a bit of a ways away from becoming practical to use on the roads. But hey, good on Goodyear for looking ahead to the future with such a great innovation.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post,UPROXX,BGR and by just looking up his name.