Goodyear unveils advanced tire technologies
Goodyear has introduced new tire developments at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. One is the Oxygene concept tire. Oxygene features living moss growing within the sidewall. This open structure and the tire’s smart tread design absorb and circulate moisture and water from the road surface, allowing photosynthesis to occur and releasing oxygen into the air.
Inspired by the principles of the circular economy, with emphasis on reducing material waste, emissions, and energy loss, Goodyear’s Oxygene concept is designed to integrate seamlessly into future cityscapes, featuring several performance solutions.
Oxygene reportedly absorbs moisture from the road through its unique tread and inhales CO2 from the air to feed the moss in its sidewall and release oxygen via photosynthesis. In a city similar in size to greater Paris with about 2.5 million vehicles, this would mean generating nearly 3000 tons of oxygen and absorbing more than 4000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
It features a non-pneumatic construction that is 3D printed with rubber powder from recycled tires. The lightweight, shock-absorbing structure provides a long-lasting, puncture-free solution intended to extend the life of the tire and minimize service issues. The tire’s open structure aims to improve wet grip by helping absorb water from the tread.
In addition, Oxygene harvests the energy generated during photosynthesis to power its embedded electronics, including onboard sensors, an artificial intelligence processing unit, and a customizable light strip in the tire’s sidewall that switches colors, warning road users and pedestrians of upcoming maneuvers such as lane changes or braking.
Oxygene uses a visible light communications system, or LiFi, for high-capacity mobile connectivity at the speed of light. LiFi enables the tire to connect to the Internet of Things, allowing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) data exchange.
“Like the concept designs Goodyear has presented at Geneva in the past, Oxygene is meant to challenge our thinking and help drive the debate around smart, safe, and sustainable future mobility,” said Chris Delaney, president of Goodyear Europe, Middle East, and Africa. “By contributing in this way to cleaner air generation, the tire could help enhance quality of life and health for city-dwellers.”
Goodyear also introduced its intelligent tire prototype, a complete tire information system that includes a tire, sensors, and cloud-based algorithms that work together to communicate in real time with fleet operators via a mobile app.
“As shared mobility continues to grow in popularity, we are seeing applications where kilometers driven per vehicle will increase substantially in the years ahead,” said Delaney. “For shared fleet operators, proactively managing tire service issues is critical to both the customer experience and the business model.”
The intelligent tire prototype allows for continuous connectivity and real-time data sharing, enabling optimal tire usage for safer and more cost-efficient mobility and maximized uptime.
The sensors in the tire, together with the vehicle and third-party information, provide real-time data to proprietary algorithms. Via these algorithms, information on tire ID and status—including wear, temperature, and pressure—is continuously updated and shared with fleet operators. This will enable them to identify and resolve tire-related issues before they become a problem.
Goodyear has also introduced at the show its EfficientGrip Performance with Electric Drive Technology, a prototype tire for the growing electric vehicle (EV) market that will be on the road by 2019 in Europe.
To address the challenges presented by EVs (which include powerful, instant torque from electric motors, additional weight from heavy battery packs, enhanced rolling resistance of electric vehicles, increasing range necessitated by an underdeveloped electric recharging infrastructure in most countries, and the need for quiet and comfort from tires due to quiet electric vehicle operation), the EfficientGrip Performance prototype with Electric Drive Technology offers the following solutions.
Extended mileage from innovative tread design: The tread’s thinner sipes (small channels) allow for a larger rubber contact patch on the road surface than traditional radial grooves. With more rubber on the road, the tire can better cope with high levels of torque while maintaining high performance in wet conditions. The tread design also prevents sound waves from entering its grooves, reducing interior and exterior tire noise.
High-load-carrying construction: The tire cavity shape is optimized to support the additional vehicle weight from batteries while maintaining an optimal tread footprint for high performance.
Extended driving range: The material properties of the tread compound are tuned for ultra-low rolling resistance to extend the vehicle's range while coping with high levels of torque. In addition, the sidewall has been designed to reduce aerodynamic drag, and the profile yields less rotating mass, resulting in reduced energy consumption.