What's better than a spherical tire that can levitate? How about a spherical tire that can levitate and also change shape? Goodyear showed us itsconcept at last year's , and this year it's taken things a step further with the Eagle 360 Urban.
The concept tire is 3D-printed with a super-flexible polymer that's designed to stretch like human skin. It also contains sensors that gather data about the road you're traveling on. If the tire senses wet pavement, the tire forms into a dimpled surface for better traction. Dry pavement gets a smooth surface. The tire also uses this information to inform the car's braking and handling characteristics. It can then take all that information and share it with other connected cars to alert them of changing road conditions.
The Eagle 360 Urban still has many of the same features as last year's tire concept. It can monitor wear and suggest a maintenance schedule, and its spherical shape makes the design ultramaneuverable.
Of course, the adoption of such tires would require a completely different automobile than what we're used to now, as these tires don't rely on any mechanical connection to the car. Instead, they work using magnetic levitation (!).
As such, it's tough to see a concept tire like the Eagle 360 Urban actually going into production. Instead, it's more likely that some of the technology -- perhaps the connected aspect -- will be applied to traditional tires. When that will happen, though, is anyone's guess.