Michelin has revealed a new concept tyre which points to the future of motoring using innovations it already has under development.
The Vision concept tyre would be both a wheel and a tyre. It would be airless, puncture free and would be designed to last the lifetime of the car.
The tyre would be made entirely of recyclable material and its interior would be a web-like structure, called alveolar interior architecture, which replaces the air in traditional tyres and removes the need for a wheel.
The design is based on nature and would provide a soft exterior for ride comfort, supported by a solid interior.
Sensors built into the tyre would provide real-time information about its condition and drivers would be able to use a Michelin smartphone app to make an appointment to adapt the tyre tread, based on the road conditions.
New tyres would have a minimal tread surface, but this would be adapted for different conditions using roadside 3D printing technology.
The driver would visit a roadside centre where new treads could be added to the tyre using 3D printers in a drive-through service.
The car would sit on a rolling road and the tyres would be updated without being removed from the car.
Terry K Gettys, executive vice president of research and development for Michelin Group, revealed the concept at the Movin’On Conference, hosted by Michelin in Montreal, Canada, and said all the elements of the concept were based on research projects currently underway at Michelin.
He said: “This concept brings together all the elements of sustainable mobility. We are bringing better solutions for sustainable mobility by working on breakthrough ideas that deliver efficiency and performance improvements without trade-offs.
“The group has been working on initiatives to try to bring concrete examples of sustainable mobility and the result is this system solution of products and services.”
The development of the concept was overseen by Mostapha El-Oulhani, Michelin Group designer and was based on feedback from drivers ranging from city motorists and farmers to racing drivers and airline pilots.
They formed a 90-strong panel of people who were questioned about their relationship with mobility.
This identified key areas of focus for tyre development including sustainability and performance.
El-Oulhani said: “Given how we developed it, the Vision concept tyre is a showcase of our expertise as well as a promise of the future. We wanted Vision to be realistic, since no purpose is served by designing objects or services that we know pertinently are unrealistic.
“Vision is possible since it is based on research and development know-how and we can already see the future applications, on which the group is now working. It’s a promise that is within reach.”