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Goodyear unveils tyre of the future

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Goodyear has unveiled its Eagle-360 concept tyre, a 3D printed product which it says presents a solution for the long-term future when autonomous vehicles go mainstream.

After 117 years of making tyres, Goodyear has presented a vision of a future tyre that looks radically different from tyres today -it’s a sphere.

Goodyear unveiled its latest concept tyre, Eagle-360, at the Geneva International Motor Show. The spherical, 3-D printed tyre highlights Goodyear’s vision for the future and presents a solution for  the long-term future when autonomous driving is expected to be more mainstream.

According to a recent study from Navigant Research, 85 million autonomous-capable vehicles are expected to be sold annually around the world by 2035, for example. According to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Tech Choice Study, consumers are most concerned with ensuring safety through technology in autonomous cars.

“By steadily reducing the driver interaction and intervention in self-driving vehicles, tyres will play an even more important role as the primary link to the road,” said Joseph Zekoski, Goodyear’s senior vice president and chief technical officer. “Goodyear’s concept tyres play a dual role in the future both as creative platforms to push the boundaries of conventional thinking and as testbeds for next-generation technologies.”

Spherical shape for ultimate manoeuvrability and safety

The unique shape of the Goodyear Eagle-360 could  contribute to safety and maneuverability to match the demands of autonomous mobility.The spherical shape of the tyre is key to delivering ultimate manoeuvrability. The multi-orientation tyres move in all directions, contributing to passenger safety.  Active technology allows the tyre to move as needed to reduce sliding from potential hazards, such as black ice or sudden obstacles, so it contributes to staying on a safe path.

In addition, the spherical shape of the Goodyear Eagle-360 provides a smooth ride by creating a fluid, lateral movement. This helps the car to overtake an obstacle without changing its driving direction.

Finally, because 360 degree turns are possible with this tyre, it could tackle anticipated parking constrictions of the future, as less space will be needed for cars fitted with spherical tyres to pull into parking spots. Assuming public parking areas play the same role, this could significantly increase the capacity of public parking areas without increasing their size.

Connected via magnetic levitation

To connect with the body of the car, the Goodyear Eagle-360 concept tyre relies on magnetic levitation. The tyre is suspended from the car by magnetic fields, similar to magnetic levitation trains, which   increases passenger comfort and reduces noise.

“Though this is purely a concept tyre, it showcases some of Goodyear’s best innovative thinking and how the needs of future drivers can be addressed. Based on our own recent research, we know that young drivers are looking for smart and sustainable cars to be part of future mobility and that reliability and safety are key for them. We believe the Eagle-360 concept tyre could deliver a safe and sustainable solutionfor our end consumer who is likely to drive or ride in autonomous cars in the future,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, President of Goodyear EMEA.   “We also hope it serves as inspiration for the automotive industry as we continue to find solutions for the future, together.”

Sensors ensure connectivity with car and increase safety

Goodyear imagined another feature, connectivity, to optimize driving conditions in autonomous vehicles, which is brought to life in three features. First, sensors inside the Eagle-360 concept tyre register the road conditions, including weather and road surface conditions, and communicate this information to the car as well as to other vehicles to enhance safety. Secondly, leveraging Goodyear’s tread wear and pressure monitoring technology, sensors in the Eagle-360 register and regulate the wear of the tyre to extend mileage. Finally, because the tread is produced by a 3-D printer, customizing the tyre based on the region where the driver lives is a new possibility.

Biomimicry – inspired by nature

Elements of the Eagle-360 design showcase biomimicry, which is the imitation of nature, a principle Goodyear often uses in its designs. The tread mimics the pattern of brain coral, and its multidirectional blocks and grooves help to secure a safe contact patch. The groove bottom has the same elements as a natural sponge, which stiffens when dry yet softens when wet to deliver adequate driving performance and aquaplaning resistance. This texture also absorbs water on the road and ejects water from the tyre footprint through centrifugal force to reduce the risk of aquaplaning.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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