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16-03-2017 | Automotive Engineering | News | Article

The Tyre of the Future Is Intelligent and Expected to Heal Itself

Benjamin Auerbach

Goodyear has developed its spherical concept tyre further. The result is influenced by bionics, is intelligent and can adapt to road and weather conditions.

Goodyear presented its Eagle 360 Urban concept tyre during the Geneva International Motor Show. The difference to the spherical concept tyre from last year is that the new model can not only be manoeuvred in all directions, but is also equipped with artificial intelligence. The tyre should be able to make decisions in order to adapt to and interact with the driving conditions. Together with a bionic outer skin and a morphing tread, the Eagle 360 Urban should be able to deploy the information it collects directly into the driving situation.

 “In a world with networked cars that drive autonomously, tyre technology will play a decisive role. In order to navigate safely, autonomous vehicles will have to be able to deal with the multitude of unknowns that everyday traffic situations bring. For this, they will need access to information that tyres can provide at the road surface, for example, as well as the ability to learn and adapt”, explains Jürgen Titz, Managing Director of the Germany Austria Switzerland (DACH) region at Goodyear.

Neural network with self-learning algorithms

The Eagle 360 Urban features a bionic outer skin with a sensor network. The tyre is to provide information in real time, both on its own condition as well as on its surroundings, such as the road surface. It receives data from other vehicles, the infrastructure and systems for traffic and mobility management also in real time. It combines and immediately processes this information using its neural network, which has self-learning algorithms. The tyre should therefore be able to make the right decision in every usual traffic situation. Due to its artificial intelligence, it learns from past experiences and can thereby constantly optimise its behaviour.

The tread design adapts to the driving situation

The concept tyre’s outer skin is made of elastic polymers. Its flexibility should be similar to human skin. The material can expand and contract again. Actuator elements beneath the skin move the individual sectors of the tyre’s tread design using an electrical pulse, adding dimples for wet conditions and smoothing the tread for dry conditions. With the resulting tread design, the Eagle 360 Urban should be able to adapt optimally to the road and weather conditions. 

When the tyre's bionic skin is damaged, the sensors in the tread can locate the puncture immediately. The tyre then rotates to create a different contact patch, which reduces pressure on the puncture and allows the self-healing process to start. This is based on materials that are specifically designed to be able to flow towards the puncture. They react physically and chemically with each other to form new molecular bonds, closing the puncture.


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