Goodyear’s new Aero concept tire transforms into a propellor for flying cars

Flying cars and flying taxis are closer than you think. So how will these airborne vehicles make the transition from land to air? Goodyear thinks it knows, and is showing off the Aero — a tire than will be able to  both run vertically as a tire and horizontally as a propeller — at the Geneva International Auto Show this week.

The propeller blades serve a dual purpose; as the necessary support for the weight of the car, and as a source of lift for the car when the driver wishes to go airborne.

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

The Aero isn’t an inflatable tire of the type we use today. Instead, Goodyear envisions using new flexible materials it has developed to absorb road shock, but be able to also deal with the added stresses on the tire material as it transitions from the horizontal to the vertical.

The technical term for this is non-pneumatic structure, and is something that is already used in small vehicles. However only recently have tire manufacturers gotten to the point where it can support the much heavier weight of a full-sized vehicle.

Goodyear also says it envisions the tire being used as part of a magnetic propulsion system versus today’s mechanical propulsion systems, and the company also plans to include artificial intelligence within the tire to monitor road conditions and tire wear. This A.I. could also be used for vehicle-to-vehicle communication, something that the auto industry is already working towards thanks to 5G.

While much of this sounds super futuristic, Goodyear is working on many of these technologies right now. The airless tire design and the intelligence within the tire itself are features already in development, and may appear in Goodyear tires in the not-too-distant future. But the company does admit that the Aero is purely conceptual, and may be for awhile.

“Goodyear’s concepts are meant to trigger a debate on the tires and transport technologies for a new mobility ecosystem,” Helsel says.

Cars

Mercedes wants to turn your car into a comfortable shopping mall on wheels

Mercedes-Benz designed its MBUX infotainment system with e-commerce in mind. Motorists can upgrade compatible cars via an over-the-air software updating system, but the brand wants to take this technology to the next level.
Cars

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?
Cars

Karma Automotive continues clawing back from the brink with three new cars

Karma Automotive will bring three new cars to the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show, including a long overdue redesigned version of its Revero plug-in hybrid and an all-electric concept car.
Cars

Nearly 3 in 4 Americans are reportedly afraid of self-driving cars, study says

The latest AAA consumer survey finds most Americans fear self-driving cars. Few people would trust autonomous vehicles to transport people they care about. However, 53 percent of consumers think most cars will be fully autonomous by 2029.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous image of the Cosmic Bat nebula leaves us starry-eyed

The "Cosmic Bat" nebula has been captured in beautiful detail by the European Southern Observatory. Formally known as NGC 1788, the nebula is two thousand light-years away in a dark corner of the Orion constellation.
Emerging Tech

Super telescope captures supermassive black holes forming billions of years ago

The Subaru Telescope in Hawaii has captured evidence of supermassive black holes forming in the ancient universe. Astronomers discovered 83 quasars powered by supermassive black holes from billions of years ago.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

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!
Emerging Tech

Mind-bending model shows Venus isn’t our nearest neighbor — it’s Mercury

Every textbook and table on the internet agrees -- the closest planet to Earth is Venus. But a new mathematical model shows that this is wrong. In fact, the planet closest to us on average is Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.