Goodyear envisions its spherical concept tire as part of an autonomous future

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Just as we look toward the future with automaker-produced concept vehicles, the tire manufacturers are also envisioning the world of tomorrow. Be it a future filled with death-race machines or airless tires, the future is looking...interesting. Goodyear has a new vision of the future, and it involves a tire that's quite a bit more round than the ones we're used to right now.

This is the Eagle 360 Urban, and it's a concept tire that is capable of amazing things. The tire is a complete sphere and it's backed by its own Artificial Intelligence. That AI will determine all sorts of behaviors for the tire, which is wrapped in a bionic "skin' that adapts to the weather and even to minor damage.

If it starts raining, the outside of the tire will take on a dimpled pattern to improve grip. Should the tire experience some minor damage, it can adjust the contact patch currently in use so the damaged part is no longer touching the road. This will allow for the skin to utilize it's self-healing properties. Goodyear says the tire would have a 3-D-printed skin with the flexibility of human skin, allowing it to expand and contract.

Eventually, the tire will wear enough that it will need to be replaced. That AI can detect this as well, and it will tell the vehicle utilizing the tire that it needs to head in for service. A magnetic service station will then quickly and effortlessly swap out the pair of globe-shaped tires for a fresh set.

Goodyear envisions this tire on an autonomous vehicle with just two tires. How would it be mounted? Via magnetic levitation and it would be suspended from the vehicle by magnetic fields. That would allow a spherical tire to roll with no hard mounting points.

The vehicle would be part of an integrated urban environment where the vehicle and the tires share real-time information with other vehicles and infrastructure, allowing for a seamless flow of traffic.

It's an interesting concept that attempts to look at technologies that may be available in the not-too-distant future.

Watch this video to have your mind blown by Goodyear.

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