THE GENEVA Motor Show, which opens today, isn’t dedicated purely to the latest and greatest from the world’s car makers. It’s also a showcase of upcoming car technology, as demonstrated by Goodyear with its AERO Concept.
As the name suggests, the concept is about more than terrestrial motoring. Thanks to the flexible spokes that double as propeller blades, the tilting AERO Concept wheels are also designed to provide lift, in theory allow a car to take to the skies.
Without pressurised air inside, the spokes have been made flexible enough to soften the impact of jolts and bumps in the road while having enough rigidity to support the car’s weight.
Other high-tech features include fibre optic sensors that can monitor the condition of the road surface and the tyre, and advanced artificial intelligence that can “identify and resolve potential tyre-related issues before they happen”.
While this all seems rather far-fetched — particularly the idea that raising two wheels off the road wouldn’t cause massive stability issues — the AERO Concept isn’t a complete flight of fantasy; its the result of research into advanced materials.
And Goodyear’s chief technical officer Chris Helsel added that it has another function: to “trigger a debate on the tyres and transport technologies for a new mobility ecosystem” — in other words, if flying cars are to ever take off we need to be discussing the details today.
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