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Goodyear is out to reinvent the wheel.
The tire manufacturer has released a video showcasing a spherical tire concept called the Eagle-360 and it looks a bit like something from a sci-fi movie. OK, it actually looks like the spherical wheels found on a futuristic Audi that Will Smith drove in I, Robot. Based on what we can see in the video, the Eagle-360s are essentially high-tech wheels fully encased in rubber and the hypothetical, futuristic car would actually hover above the four orbs. As a result, the tires are suspended by electromagnetic force, similar to how a mag-lev train functions. Since there’s no physical contact between the car and the wheels, Goodyear believes the ride would not only be improved, but road noise would be reduced.
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The spherical shape also offers a larger contact patch along with the ability to rotate and turn in any direction instantly. That also means that the car itself wouldn’t experience body roll and the front end would always just point straight ahead. The tires would essentially change their direction of rotation. There’s also the benefit that cars would be able to park much easier, sliding into much tighter spaces. Goodyear also believes that parking lots could cram a lot more vehicles than existing lots without having to expand.
It all might sound a bit crazy, but with today’s technology, the possibilities are endless. So don’t be surprised if a spherical tire is used in your self-driving car of the future.