Goodyear Previews Flying AV Tires

Goodyear Previews Flying AV Tires

Goodyear is previewing a tire it claims could enable autonomous vehicles to fly.

At the Geneva Motor Show, Goodyear displayed the AERO, a concept tire it says would use magnetic propulsion to power an AV along the road before tilting to propel it upward and then forward through the air. Senior engineer Vincent Decouvreur said his team had only been able to test it using simulations, as they were unable to test it on a car or plane.

Goodyear said the AERO features a non-pneumatic structure. It claimed this enables it to absorb shocks on the road and “rotate at the high speeds necessary for the rotors to create vertical lift”. The spokes support the tire’s weight while functioning “as fan blades to provide lift when the tire is tilted”. Principal engineer Daniel Hinque explained that the spokes do not touch each other, as if they were to do so, the tire’s airborne capabilities and structural integrity could be undermined.

Goodyear said the AERO would use “magnetic force to provide frictionless propulsion”. Global materials developer Claude Boes explained: “We have a big spool, we put an electric current inside, this generates a magnetic field. This magnetic field can interact with the special magnetic material on our turning part of the tire and this will give us a force that makes the tire turn.”

The component maker added that the tire features fiber optic sensors to monitor road conditions and its own structural integrity. These sensors would send data to its embedded AI processor which it would combine with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) data “to recommend a course of action – allowing a vehicle to adapt to a flying or driving mode”. The move follows Goodyear’s provision of connected tires for Local Motors’ Olli autonomous shuttle vehicles.

While Goodyear stressed the AERO’s design was “purely conceptual”, its general director of innovation Carlos Cipollitti claimed congested roads were causing mobility companies to consider “new solutions. For that, they are now looking into the sky for the answer”.

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