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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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Cape Town not so calm – if you’re a driver

Cape Town drivers lose on average 162 hours a year to traffic jams, so will need some tech and a few tips to stay calm

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Cape Town drivers lose, on average, 162 hours a year stuck in traffic jams, and the city is ranked 95th out of around 200 cities, across 38 countries surveyed globally, in terms of congestion issues.

That’s according to the latest INRIX 2018 Global Traffic Scorecard, which is an annual analysis of mobility and congestion trends. The study provides a data-rich evaluation of information collected during peak (slowest) travel times, and inter peak (fastest point between morning and afternoon commutes) travel times. Together they provide a holistic account of congestion throughout the day, delivering in-depth insights for vehicle drivers and policy-makers to make better decisions regarding urban travel and traffic health.

Of the further five South African cities surveyed:

  • Pretoria drivers lose, on average, 143 hours a year stuck in traffic jams, ranking as the 64thmost congested city
  • Johannesburg drivers lose an average of 119 hours annually, ranking 61st
  • Durban drivers lose 72 hours, ranking 141st
  • Port Elizabeth drivers lose 71 hours, ranking 75th
  • And Bloemfontein drivers lose 62 hours, ranking 165th

If these hours sound horrific, spare a thought for the poor drivers in Colombia’s capital city of Bogotá who lose, on average, a whopping 272 hours a year stuck in traffic jams!

On average, drivers’ commutes increase by roughly 30% during peak versus inter-peak hours. And the reality is that congestion issues aren’t going away anytime soon. Not here in SA, or anywhere else in the world. So what can we, as drivers, do to make the situation easier to cope with on our daily commute?

Change of mindset

Stressing about the unavoidable, the inevitable, and all the things that are out of our control – like congestion caused by accidents, faulty street lights, or bad weather – is a waste of energy. We should try finding ways of using that time in our cars more productively, to create a less tense, more positive experience. Learning to change our perspective about this challenging time, and associating it with something enjoyable, can drastically alter our reaction to and engagement with it. Rather than expending all our energy on futile anger and frustration, we can channel our focus on things that relax or energise us instead.

Just one more chapter

Being stuck in traffic usually aggravates us because it feels like a huge waste of valuable time. But like a wise man once said, time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. Listening to a podcast or audiobook can not only be entertaining, but also educational, which is a brilliant use of your time. Ifyou think of your car as a ‘learning lab’, a mobile university of sorts, and your time spent inside as away to exercise your brain and grow intellectually, you may even find yourself wishing for bad traffic so you have an excuse to carry on listening to your podcast or audiobook.

Tame your inner Hulk

Pulling up a playlist of your favourite, feel-good songs can do wonders to combat stress levels. Downbeat music has been proven to have a mellowing effect on drivers. Making a quick switch to downbeat music shows measurable physiological improvements, with drivers calming down much sooner, and making fewer driving mistakes. So the next time you feel your inner Hulk emerging, crank up the volume on your favourite tunes.

The power of ‘caromatherapy’

There are numerous studies on aromas and their impact on human emotion, behaviour, and performance. Researchers have found that peppermint can enhance mental and athletic performance and cognitive functioning, while cinnamon may improve tasks related to attentional processes and visual-motor response speed. A study from Kyoto University in Japan revealed that participants reported significantly lower hostility and depression scores, and felt more relaxed after awalk through a pine forest. It makes sense then, to incorporate some ‘caromatherapy’ into our lives. There are plenty of off-the-shelf car diffusers available, or you could add a few drops of essential oil to DIY felt air fresheners. Citrus scents like orange or lemon can provide a boost of energy, while rosemary can relieve stress and anxiety. Take care not to hang anything that might obstruct your field of vision though, and always make sure to test out essential oils at home first, in case a scent makes you dizzy or overly relaxed, which could affect driving focus.

Contemplate your navel

The mind is a powerful thing, and simply willing yourself to relax might be the most effective method of all. While we don’t recommend meditating while driving due to safety reasons, breathing exercises can help you stay focused and feeling calm. One useful practice is the one-to-one technique – breathing in and out for the same count with the same intensity. Deep, measured breaths facilitate full oxygen exchange, helping to slow down the rate of your heartbeat and stabilise blood pressure, as opposed to shallow breathing, which doesn’t send enough air to the lowest part of your lungs, causing you to feel anxious and short of breath. Just always keep your eyes on the road, and take care to ensure you’re not so busy counting breaths that your concentration is compromised.

Not all those who wander are lost

Some of our best ideas come in those moments where we’re alone with our own thoughts, able to really reflect on the ideas we have without having something immediate that needs our attention. Allow your mind to wander, and do a little brainstorming. Alternatively, use the time to simply day dream. Remember, downtime is not dead time. It is both necessary, and important for your mental health. Use this time as an opportunity to take care of yourself.

In-built vehicle tech

“As we spend more and more time commuting, cars are being designed to accommodate longer periods behind the wheel,” says Kuda Takura, smart mobility specialist at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “Ford uses human-centric design to deliver vehicles that are inviting, accommodating, and intuitive. For example, our SYNCT infotainment system offers nifty, hands-free functions, like allowing drivers to listen to their texts, change music or climate settings, and make phone calls easily with voice control. Our range of driver-assist technologies, like Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Semi-Auto Active Park Assist, are also designed to take some of the stress off city driving. If our lifestyle means that we might be spending more time in our cars than we do on holiday, then we should make sure we make the most of that time.”

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Vodacom exits Africa biz services

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Vodacom Group has sold Vodacom Business Africa’s operations in Nigeria, Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire to Andile Ngcaba’s Synergy Communications. The two entities are in the process of concluding the acquisitions, which are subject to the approval of the regulatory authorities within these markets.

Vodacom says the transaction supports the Group’s enterprise strategy in Africa, which has been refocused to grow and strengthen its core business. It will no longer directly service global enterprise customers in these three markets but will rather continue to operate as a pan African telecommunications networks provider through local relationships, like the one with Synergy Communications. 

This acquisition represents a significant milestone in Synergy Communication’s quest to be a leading provider of cloud and digitally based services in key markets across sub-Saharan Africa and provides key additional assets in its build out of a regional footprint. Synergy Communications currently has operations in Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique.

Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Synergy Communications said: “This is an exciting landmark transaction for Synergy Communications, providing us with additional momentum in the delivery of our strategy as a pan-African enterprise digital Services Provider. Synergy Communications will partner with major global cloud providers and deliver platform-based services to both multi-nationals and local enterprises.”

Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group, said: “Vodacom has a clear vision for strengthening our position as a leading pan-African business and will work with local service providers like Synergy Communications to grow in these markets. Crucially, Vodacom is not exiting any of the territories related to this transaction and remains focused on continuing to deliver exceptional service to our global and multinational clients in these markets through long-term commercial agreements. 

“To support the sustainable growth of pan African digital economies and building connected societies, Vodacom will, via local service providers, continue to service clients in each market. We seek to leverage the collective strengths of Vodacom and Synergy Communications to meet the changing requirements of clients across each of these markets.”

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