They’re completely airless, last virtually forever, and could be the perfect tire for our autonomous future.
Michelin, the 128-year-old tire manufacturer based in Clermont-Ferrand, France, recently unveiled a 3D-printed tire concept that it says could be the ideal ride for self-driving cars. It just needs to figure out how to actually manufacture them first.
Dubbed “Vision,” these spidery, psychedelic-looking sponges are printed from bio-sourced and biodegradable materials, including natural rubber, bamboo, paper, tin cans, wood, electronic and plastic waste, hay, tire chips, used metals, cloth, cardboard, molasses, and orange zest.
While it may sound like Michelin is rooting through your compost pile to come up with its futuristic concept, there’s more to it than that. These tires would be embedded with RFID sensors to collect data and predict performance and function of the vehicle. And they will be adaptive to different conditions. Heading to the mountains for some skiing? Drive through a Michelin printing station and get your tires retrofitted for snowy terrain.
“This concept vision is a dream for an ideal solution for the long-term,” said Terry Gettys, Michelin’s executive VP for research and development. “We’re confident you can replace a tire-and-wheel-combination with a unique structure, carry the load, provide good comfort and noise, and we’re very encouraged that can be the solution of the future.”
To read more of the original article, go to The Verge.