Manufacturers usually flaunt a new tread pattern each year, and they went all out this time around. Because of advancements in manufacturing approaches, materials and sensors, they found a way to enhance your car tire. Michelin is trying to explore this possibility with their Vision concept tire. They basically want to develop a tire equipped with sensors, are biodegradable, airless, 3D printed – and it won’t be just a tire, it will be both a tire and a wheel.
Michelin revealed during a global conference tackling urban mobility challenges in Montreal, Canada that they used 3D printing technology to construct their Vision tire. This allows an airless interior architecture that resembles alveolar structures, like air sacs of the lungs that is flexible outside, but solid in the center. This will result to a tire that can resist flats or blowouts.
The tire’s core, which is also reusable and functions as a wheel, would be created from biodegradable and bio-source organic materials. 3D printing optimizes the quantity of rubber tread used on the tire’s external properties to accommodate the particular requirements of the driver, while minimizing the amount of the rubber. They can even recharge or top up the tread when it wears down or when the driver wants to go to varied road environments.
Even though the tread of the tire would mostly be made of rubber, the manufacturers are anticipating the day when they can eventually use materials like wood chips or straw to form butadiene, which is the primary ingredient to make synthetic rubber. They will embed sensors in the tires to observe its condition real time. The driver will then receive data regarding its condition and potentially utilize an associated app to remind the user to alter the tread for a precise use, like skiing.
However, the manufacturer hasn’t yet revealed when they will implement the innovations or when consumers can buy these. The designer who headed the Vision Project named Mostalpha El-Oulhani only vaguely revealed that it will be available soon.