Spherical Tires: Safer, Longer-Lasting, and High-Tech Gear of the Future

Madeleine Jones
May 30, 2017

Goodyear seeks to reinvent the “tire” with a radical new design that features a spherical shape. Goodyear claims the new tire will be safer, longer-lasting, and more efficient. For years Hollywood has regaled audiences with science fiction future in which cars either fly or use spherical tires and Goodyear looks poised to make that fantasy a reality. Goodyear introduced the “Eagle 360” tire which it claims will revolutionize the automobile market in time to radically enhance self-driven car capabilities.

(Image Source: corporate.goodyear.com)

Limitation of Conventional Tires

Conventional tires rely on the tried-and-true interlocking mechanisms of spokes, axles, suspension, and rims. The spoke and axle system has been the staple of automobiles since the car was invented in the late 19th century. Since that time, the spoke and axle system has undergone incremental, rather than radical, improvements. For example, modern cars use more advanced materials and improved design.

Traditional tire systems are attractive because there is a century of history supporting their reliability. However, they are also limited in their functionality, expensive to maintain, and short-lived. For instance, tires can only roll forward and backward thus; their tread inevitably wears after a few years necessitating an expensive replacement. Moreover, the axle system involves dozens of parts, the failure of any part renders the car inoperable. Traditional tires can only move a car forward and backward, limiting functionality in an increasingly overpopulated world. Finally, the axle tire system is prone to catastrophic failures whenever there are imperfections in the road or tire which can be fatal.

Benefits of Spherical Tires over Traditional Tires

Conversely, spherical tires, according to Goodyear, can solve many of these problems. The Eagle 360 will utilize magnetic levitation to “float” the car above the tire, therefore, obviating the need for axle-dependent tire systems – cutting out all of the associated maintenance and costs. Furthermore, spherical tires and magnetic levitation enable cars, in theory, to move in any direction thereby permitting cars to squeeze into tight parking spots and possibly radically altering urban planning.

The tires are also able to utilize greater surface area which should enable the car to “smartly” adjust the tire to ensure that the tire shifts to unworn tread thus extending the useful life. Finally, the magnetic-levitation system permits cars to handle more challenging terrain and road conditions. Whereas traditional tries can easily lose traction on a wet or snowy surface, magnetic levitation wheels can quickly adjust to road and weather conditions preventing crashes.

Goodyear acknowledged that the Eagle-360 tires are a far-off-in-the-future concept. But self-driving cars are already in use across the country, and industry experts forecast that fully autonomous cars will go on sale by the end of the decade. Today’s cars have intelligence built in, but does that always contribute to safety? If you’ve been in a car accident due to a self-driving car, contact a Las Vegas car accident lawyer for information on rights, responsibilities, and compensation.