Road to the future: A look at Goodyear's Eagle 360 concept tire
Now, normally the bigger the national car show the most audacious concepts are concept cars.
Here in Geneva in 2016, the most audacious concept was the concept tire.
That's what this is.
This is Goodyear's concept of a new Tire called the Eagle 360.
You see where the 360 comes from.
They are radically rethinking the thing that gives you contact, Pat, by imagining it as a ball upon which the cars sit, not with mechanical suspension but with magnetic levitation.
Stay with me here.
It's about as Star Wars as we're gonna get.
Now let's talk about why that's important.
When you've got a spherical ball wheel, you can orient this thing any number of ways.
You can actually have multiple tread patterns imbedded in one tire and rotate to select.
There could be a sport pattern.
There could be a low resistance pattern.
There could be various patterns for different types of driving.
There could be a dry pattern, a wet pattern.
You could rotate to them.
You can't do that kinda thing now without a lug wrench and a greasy half hour.
And very practically, you can also rotate the tire to even out tread wear, the ultimate rotation of tires.
In the traditional sense.
Now, let's talk about that tread itself.
Now, if you look in here closely you see a tread pattern but then in between the grooves, a new kind of foam there imagining, that would be almost at the surface in dry weather.
Then in wet weather, the pressure of water being forced through these grooves would push that foam back, creating on demand the kind of water evacuating channels it need.
And then when it's dry, rises back up to something with more of a contact patch, very interesting.
And even these rubber [UNKNOWN] here would be made of a material that can sense water and get a little more gushy when they need to be for grip.
And when they're dry, a little bit stiffer.
Now the last week thought around a spherical tire wheel assembly is that it allows interesting maneuverability.
I mean, we're still trying to digest rear wheel steering right?
This is all corner steering, even more ambitious.
It allows all kinds of crab crawl manuevers while cornering.
Obviously direct lateral parking.
Things you can't do now, unless you're making a movie like the matrix.
Now, the downside.
This requires not just a new kind of tire in the world, this requires an entirely new kind of car.
Carmakers have to get on board in a big way and re-engineer almost everything they do from six inches above the ground on up to about 12 inches.
The whole underpinnings of a vehicle are going to be changed by this.
That's a big ask.
Yeah, and there's the magnetic levitation thing.
But, because this tire handles so many things Things that tires do badly today?
It's worth keeping an eye on.