Sparesbox Blog

Say Hello to the World’s First 3D Printed, 360° Tyre

By Brad Nash

Thu Mar 17 2016

Goodyear are one of the most classic, romanticised names in the Automotive world. Their famous branding has adorned the tyres of some of the world’s most iconic vehicles over the last century, but now they’ve turned a corner.

This is not the place where we hark back to the classic days of Formula 1 and Indy Car racing, but if you DO like pure, unadulterated future-porn, you’ve come to the right place. For Goodyear have announced a concept for the next generation in tyres.

Dubbed the Eagle-360, these tyres are unlike anything ever fitted to a vehicle before, and have been thought up with the intention of driving the next generation of Self-Driving cars. This isn’t an empty pursuit by the way, as some have predicted that there could be up to 10 million of them on our roads by the year 2020.

 

So, What Makes the Eagle-360 So Special?

Image: Goodyear
Image: Goodyear

 

Well, to start with, they’re spherical. They completely forgo the axle-wheel system that has formed the basic structure of almost every car ever made. Instead, the Eagle-360 will serve as both wheel and rim, working independently of the other tyres on your vehicle to react to road conditions hazards with unrivalled precision.

Theoretically, the Eagle 360 won’t even be attached to the vehicle, rather it will actually suspend the body of the car above it through the use of Maglev technology. I can already hear James, our resident Alfaholic, getting riled up about this one.

The use of a wide range of sensors makes this possible, and it’s completely spherical range of motion will make pretty much any conventional driving technique (think the 3-point turn, parallel parking or anything else that made your Probationary Driver’s test the stuff of nightmares) a thing of the past.

The sensors installed in the wheel will monitor almost everything to do with the control of your vehicle, including road conditions and tyre wear.

Oh yeah, and they’d be 3D printed meaning you can customise the tread to suit any conditions.

 

Those of you still very much attached (get it?) to regular vehicle suspension can rest assured: this is purely a concept. GoodYear aren’t really working on developing the tyre, although should technology develop fast enough, I personally don’t really see a reason why it wouldn’t be feasible on a future generation of vehicles. For now though, enjoy your springs and shocks while you still have them.