Goodyear Eagle-360: when fiction becomes reality
Goodyear has unveiled the Eagle-360 at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. For the brand, this spherical tyre which looks like it comes straight from a Sci-fi movie represents what the future tyre for autonomous vehicles could be.
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In 2004, the incredible RSQ concept car that Audi developed for Will Smith in the iRobot movie created a sensation, notably for the spherical wheels equipping it. An RSQ that was already autonomous. Twelve years later, tyre manufacturer Goodyear has unveiled the Eagle-360 at the Geneva Motor Show.
This spherical tyre expresses the brand’s vision of what a tyre for an autonomous vehicle could be. More than a simple design exercise, this tyre’s shape is supposed to address the many issues and problems involved with autonomous vehicles, for both users and those that design them.
First of all, the spherical shape of the tyre improves vehicle manoeuvrability in all possible directions. Its safety role is also improved by allowing the ideal trajectories on each wheel to be corrected; each sphere can turn as required.
As for the tread, it can easily be adapted to different regions in the world. For the moment, it emulates the pattern of a coral and its tread blocks and grooves enhance the contact patch. At the bottom of these same grooves, a spongy type of material that hardens on dry surfaces and softens in wet conditions to reduce the risk of hydroplaning.
There is still the problem of connectivity between the vehicle and its wheels; a solid sphere does not allow a traditional axle to be connected. For this, Goodyear has imagined that the Eagle-360 will be connected to the car using the principle of magnetic levitation, a concept already used on high speed trains and which greatly improves passenger comfort on-board.
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