With all the buzz each year about what Chevy, Toyota, Lexus, BMW are doing, consumers tend to forget about the less sexy tire industry and its innovations. Though the industry has sometimes lagged behind, the tire industry has been making impressive strides lately, with popular tire brands hard at work designing their unique of what the tire of the future looks like and how it functions.
Goodyear has unveiled their version of autonomous car tires, which they believe is a sphere-shaped tire. The tread design will adapt to weather and road conditions to prevent hydroplaning, with an adjustable gel compound in the grooves of the tread.
But how does a vehicle hold onto this tire? By the power of magnets. The thought of a sphere-shaped tire is intriguing because, on the one hand, you will never have irregular wear. On the other hand, the maintenance and cost of the product will be higher than your typical tire (as there is more rubber being used). Assuming they can convince the consumer it’s a change for the better though, this vision has the potential to be revolutionary.
Bridgestone’s vision is a little different. Their tire of the future maintains its traditional shape, but it has real-time monitoring of road and weather conditions, with increases fuel efficiency. This vision seems one the conservative side, but I would be curious to learn more about the process of monitoring the road and weather conditions.
And then there is the company whom no one is talking about (yet). Sumitomo Tire.
They are one of the largest tire manufactures in the world and they are joining the race for tires that will go on autonomous cars. Sumitomo has invented a proprietary algorithm that makes up their “Sensing Core” technology, which will be able to predict air pressure and road conditions. They also hope that their technology will include the ability to estimate damage to a tire.
Remember: Whenever you hear about concept cars, think about the tires that keep those vehicles on the road moving smoothly. Tires dictate the handling of a vehicle much more than most realize, so I’m excited to see what innovations are to come in the tire industry’s near future.
Some of the information in this article from the following links:
Jared Kugel’s Bio:
Jared Kugel is the CEO and co-founder of Tire Agent, a new smart tire recommendation platform for consumers that takes driving habits and purpose of a vehicle into consideration to suggest the perfect tire at the best price. At 31-years-old Jared boasts an impressive 11 years in the tire industry working with manufactures, distributors and retailers. Many of Jared’s early years in the industry were spent working with his family’s business, where he initiated the company’s first online ordering system, which now represents a significant portion of their sales.