Goodyear has unveiled a new concept tire at the Geneva Motor Show that ticks several boxes of the automobile of the future — it’s touted as a sustainable urban mobility solution that employs artificial intelligence, increases safety and generates its own electricity. Also, it’s filled with living moss that can help clean the air. That’s a lot to ask of a tire!
It’s called Oxygene and features a unique open structure in which a heat-resistant moss is encouraged to grow inside the sidewall thanks to the smart tread design, which absorbs and circulates moisture it picks up from the road, all managed by an AI system. It also inhales carbon dioxide from the air to feed the moss.
“With moss we can absorb CO² and, through photosynthesis, we can convert that in oxygen, cleaning the air,” Carlos Cipollitti, vice president of product development for Goodyear’s Europe, Africa and Middle East division, said in a video released by Goodyear. “At the same time, you will see that the moss can generate electricity through that photosynthesis process, which also fuels the energy required fro the artificial intelligence that this tire will have.”
The tire features a lightweight, non-pneumatic construction using 3D-printed rubber powder sourced from recycled tires. We’ve seen similarly 3D-printed tire concepts from Michelin, which unveiled its airless Vision concept tire last year that recharges its treads via 3D printing technology to adjust to seasonal road conditions, and features a tread inspired by nature that is similarly made from sustainable materials. Like that one, the Oxygene is airless and puncture-free, with a shock-absorbing open tread structure that improves grip in wet conditions. Goodyear says the Oxygene can also communicate with tires on other vehicles and with infrastructure through speed-of-light LiFi technology, and illumination will help it signal when the vehicle is turning or brakes are being applied.
It’s far-out but inventive thinking from the legacy tire maker. Previous tire concepts from Goodyear have included the spherical Eagle-360 and the BH03, a much more ordinary-looking tire that can produce electricity using the heat generated by rolling over a road surface.