With companies like Airbus, Uber, Google, and even Toyota developing flying cars and air taxis that will hit the skies over the next couple years -- some as soon as 2020 -- tyre companies need to adapt their products to stay in the game.
On Monday, Goodyear unveiled the Aero concept tyre which would work "both as a tyre for driving on the road and a ‘propeller' for flying through the sky."
This two-in-one tyre features a multimodal design with a tilt rotor that would allow future drivers (and pilots) to seamlessly shift between driving and flying. Likewise, the spokes would serve as support for the vehicle when on the ground but act as fan blades to "provide lift" when the tire is tilted. Due to the use of magnetic propulsion, these wheels are allegedly strong enough to withstand the high rotation speeds necessary for a vertical liftoff.
The Aero tyres will be equipped with fibre-optic sensors and artificial intelligence. Not only will they be able to track their own wellbeing like the level of tire wear and structural integrity, and the AI processor integrated within them will also allow the vehicle to communicate with other vehicles as well as infrastructures. These features, however, are still being developed.
For now, the Aero tires are simply concept designs; no vehicles exist yet that could benefit from such an innovation, though they're certainly on their way.