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Goodyear Reinvents the Wheel – Tires that Drive and Fly

Goodyear Aero 2


It would not be entirely unreasonable to say that, if Goodyear, the 120+ year old Akron, Ohio-based automobile tire manufacturer, can accomplish what many have tried and failed to do in so many ways over so many thousands of years, it will have truly ‘reinvented the wheel.’

The company might counter that it is, and always has been since its inception, innovating better tires – everything from tubeless tires to radials. And it has. Innovate, yes. Reinvent, nothing like what it’s proposing to do with Aero, its concept for a wheel that is both roadworthy and airworthy, introduced recently in Geneva at the International Motor Show.

The Wheels on the Bus, and the Taxi, and the Car Go ‘Round and Round’ and Up and Down

The concept uses a non-pneumatic tire that absorbs and manages the road ahead of it while having the capability to tilt and use its aerodynamic structure to convert to propellers, seamlessly lifting the vehicle up and down, forward, backward, just as you would expect any VTOL to do. The project envisions using magnetic and electromagnetic fields to create frictionless rotation of the propellers.

Light-based, fiberoptic sensors monitor road conditions, tire wear, and structural integrity. Using an embedded A-1 processor, the Aero would receive, submit, and assess real-time conditions—real-time intelligence whether flying or driving—and suggest optimal courses of action.

While Goodyear admits not all of the elements of achieving Aero’s multimodal technology exist today, it believes it’s still invaluable to begin the dialogue necessary to develop the roadmap to the future among all the disciplines required to make it a reality. Let the dialogue begin!

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is a California-based writer who is fascinated by the way technology changes our lives.