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13-03-2019 | Chassis | News | Article

Goodyear Develops Tyre for Driving and Flying

Christiane Köllner

Goodyear is unveiling its "Aero" concept tyre, which can support flying cars, at the Geneva International Motor Show. Once the tyre is folded up, it becomes a rotor and the spokes become its blades.

Goodyear has presented the Aero concept tyre for autonomous flying cars at the Geneva International Motor Show. The Aero is like any normal tyre for cars driving on the road, only that it can also can provide a lift upwards like a rotor, enabling the car to fly.

"With mobility companies looking to the sky for the answer to the challenges of urban transport and congestion, our work on advanced tyre architectures and materials led us to imagine a wheel that could serve both as a traditional tyre on the road and as a propulsion system in the sky," said Chris Helsel, Chief Technology Officer at Goodyear.

Multimodal design and non-pneumatic structure

The Aero is based on a multimodal tilt-rotor concept. It can serve as a drive train and transmit forces in the usual direction to and from the road - in other words, provide forward thrust. It can also serve as a drive in the air and provide thrust upwards. With the right car, tomorrow's commuters would have the opportunity to switch seamlessly from road to air on their journey.

The spokes of the concept are designed to help carry the load of the vehicle. They also function like rotor blades and provide lift when the wheel is tilted. The Aero, which is airless, is based on a non-pneumatic structure that is flexible enough to absorb shocks when the car is driving on the road. It is also strong enough to rotate so fast that the rotor blades provide a vertical lift, explains Goodyear.

Magnetic drive and optical sensors

The Aero uses magnetic power for a smooth drive. This enables the high rotational speed that is necessary to move the vehicle forward on the road and to lift it off and propel it in the air when the wheel is inclined.

The concept tyre uses light-based fibre-optic sensors to monitor the road surface, tyre wear and its own structural integrity. In addition, the Aero has an embedded artificial intelligence processor that combines the data collected by the sensors with information from vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. The processor analyses these data streams to give recommendations for action, for example, to allow the vehicle to switch to flying or driving mode. It can also identify and solve tyre-related problems before a breakdown.

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