The concept of the wheel has barely changed over the past 100 years. They have gotten stronger, thinner and wider but the general shape remains the same. Now, Goodyear has devised a crazy product to change this method and it’s called the Eagle 360; a spherical 3D printed tyre intended for autonomous driving. The new-age shape of the Eagle 360 is set to provide more comfort and safety thanks to its extreme maneuverability.
With autonomous vehicles being fast on the rise, Goodyear thought it would be a smart idea to develop something that will aid this cause. Being the shape that it is, the Eagle 360 can move in any lateral direction which gives the car more of a chance to avoid obstacles and park in tight spots. The wheel’s sliding potential has also been decreased which bodes well for passengers when encountered with slippery surfaces.
Being spherical, connection to the car is obviously a cause for concern. As a result, the Eagle 360 makes use of a magnetic levitation system seen similarly in Maglev trains. With this, Goodyear claims that road noise is drastically decreased and comfort increased.
The Eagle 360 also makes use of sensors to manage driving conditions for autonomous vehicles. This is for identifying different weather and surface conditions and also keep track of the tyre’s wear and pressure. It’s also worth noting that because this is a 3D printed product it will be fully customisable, depending on the user’s environment.
The Eagle 360 is also designed to imitate a natural setting, something less commonly known as biomimicry. The spherical wheel’s tread imitates the design of a brain coral, giving it multi-directional blocks to give the base more of a surface coverage. The compound also softens according to the dampness it senses and will absorb some of the water it picks up along the road and releases it from the tyre footprint through centrifugal force to reduce the risk of aquaplaning.
If you want a visual idea of how the Eagle 360 will work, Goodyear has also provided a demonstration video: