Michelin Visionary concept foresees 3D-printed treads for changing conditions

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I'm a sucker for forward-looking concept videos. I love the visions that others have for what our world will look like 20, 30, 40, and even 100 years down the line. You know who is great at making these videos? Tire manufacturers. They create worlds that show fantastical vehicles transporting folks to their glamorous adventures or simply through their mundane daily lives in an amazing future. They do this to show what sort of tire might underpin those future vehicles.

Michelin has created such a video to show off its latest concept tire. It's called the Visionary, which is just the sort of name you expect for a future concept product like this. Even if that name may sound a little haughty, this video provides a glimpse at what might be in store for us all down the road.

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The Visionary is an airless tire. It's also 3D-printed from materials that are bio-sourced, biodegradable, and recyclable. It also has a recharge capability.

Michelin envisions a world in which you tell your autonomous vehicle your destination and it looks ahead to determine the conditions. Depending on the weather and the terrain, the car might suggest a stop at a tire-changing station. This is a quick stop, and in the example above, 3D-printing technology is used to change your rubber into winter-ready tires.

You're then off to the hills while the condition and life of your tires are constantly monitored.

We're quite a ways off from something like this being possible, but the building blocks are being forged even today. You won't be driving on biodegradable, airless, 3D-printed wonder tires in 20 years time, but maybe your grandkids will.

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