Goodyear wants to replace your tires with mag-lev rubber balls

Though there have been significant changes to tire technology over the years, the general size and shape of a passenger vehicle’s tire has remained the same for decades.

However, Goodyear is ready for the next wave with the introduction of the manufacturer’s Eagle-360 tire at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Designed for use on future autonomous vehicles, the Eagle-360 is a spherical tire that would be suspended from a car by magnetic fields. The closest analogy to this is the way maglev trains levitate through the use of magnetic poles. Goodyear claims that passenger comfort would be dramatically changed for the better while road noise would be diminished. That makes sense, considering how the interaction with the road surface is transferred to vehicle occupants because of the physical link between tire and axle.

Beyond the benefits to passengers, the ball-shaped design lets the tire move in all directions, obviously increasing a car’s maneuverability to literally all directions. And here’s a big win: if all the tires are spheres, you’d never have to parallel park again. Simply pull up next to a space, and move over horizontally.

eagle-360-de-goodyear-2

It’s more than just a magnetic ball, though, as Goodyear has incorporated technology that enables the tires to “move as needed.” Though that’s a bit vague, the manufacturer gave the example that when the tire detects hazards like black ice, it will stop moving to reduce slip. Other sensors within the tire collect road condition information and share it with other drivers (which, I suppose would be tire-to-car communication). To extrapolate, the tires could even talk to road authorities to prepare them for road risks, improve response time, or to create slow zones during emergencies.

There are some obvious design issues to be tackled. For example, because of the size of the tire sphere, tucking the tire under a car’s fender would require shortening the front and rear axles considerably. Then there’s the potential expense. High-quality rubber can already cost shoppers a fair penny, and sensor-loaded balls of rubber (with a lot more area to cover) would certainly be more expensive.

Assuming these obstacles could be overcome, it’s a neat idea and I certainly hope Goodyear pursues the concept, if not for the next decade’s crop of cars, then for some future crop of them.

Mobile

Rekindled yet again, Nokia’s next-gen phones offer more than just nostalgia

HMD Global, a startup that designs and builds Nokia Android smartphones, wants to put the Nokia brand name back “where it belongs.” It helps that it’s made up of ex-Nokia employees. We go behind the scenes to see how HMD formed.
Product Review

Origin's Chronos PC is no looker, but it plays games with eye-popping detail

The Chronos is Origin’s smallest PC, but while it occupies less space than most A/V receivers, it delivers the power of a much larger desktop. Its dull exterior design does the system a disservice. Once you turn it on, you won’t be…
Cars

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Cars

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.
Cars

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.
Cars

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.
Cars

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…
Outdoors

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.
Cars

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.