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Continental invents self-inflating concept tire

Yes, this futuristic, connected tire inflates itself while it rolls. The company thinks this tech could benefit ride-sharing fleets.

Continental CARE future tire concept
This isn't your grandfather's rubber tire.

Fleet managers have a lot of work on their hands, namely, ensuring vehicles remain in good shape. If today's technology portrays the future, we'll likely one day see taxis, Ubers and Lyfts without drivers in favor of autonomous cars . On that note, Continental says that change will require the tire of the future.

Meet C.A.R.E (Connected. Autonomous. Reliable. Electrified.), a fully connected tire with sensors embedded in its structure that Continental showed off at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month. Not only does the tire benefit from digesting tons of data via the sensors, which can boost efficiency among a fleet of vehicles but it also inflates itself while it rolls.

The sensors are the rubber's watchdog for possible damage, tread depth, temperature and pressure. While the first three areas will show up for a fleet manager to watch, the tire is totally capable of maintaining the proper tire pressure at all times. No spare change for air pumps, nothing like that at all.

Instead, the tire features built-in pumps housed in the wheel. During vehicle acceleration, the forces work within the wheel to create compressed air. The system, which Continental calls "PressureProof," ensures the tire pressure remains in an ideal range for efficiency. Over or under-inflated tires can diminish fuel efficiency and range for traditional and electric cars. With this technology, the tire company said it could help create a drop in C02 emissions.

As for an extra air created, it's stored in a tank and when needed, the system quickly releases the air to fill the tire once again.

Neat stuff, right? No word on if this is a direct precursor to some future production tire, but it's wild to see the technology. Self-inflating tires could be just one of the many mesmerizing gadgets on the self-driving cars of tomorrow.

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