SPHERICAL TYRES

You may have enjoyed reading our ‘All About… Tyres’ guide in the May issue of Fast Ford, but one area we didn’t have room to cover in the magazine was looking at the future of the car tyre.

With advances in both tyre manufacturing and development processes, and in car design itself, car tyres of the future may look very different. In fact, they may not even be the same shape we’ve become accustom too. Goodyear have recently unveiled their spherical tyres, intended for use on self-driving cars. And as if being spherical isn’t enough, they can actually shape-shift depending on the terrain too!

However, don’t expect to see the next Focus come with spherical tyres and self-driving capabilities, as recent safety concerns have set back this ground-breaking concept for at least a few years.

But while concepts like this are a far cry from today’s summer tyres, the technologies will develop over time, and there’s every possibility that eventually spherical tyres will become safe enough for everyday use.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

That’s not the only advance in tyre technology we’ve seen recently, though. Bridgestone’s smart tyre assembly system (called Examination) has been hailed as the ‘Innovation of the Year’ among tyre manufacturers. Why? Because it’s an artificial intelligence system that has revolutionized quality control in tyre manufacturing, by doing away with the possibility for human error.

The Examination system, which has already been tested in Bridgestone’s plant in Japan, executes algorithms that have been developed from in-depth analysis of huge amounts of data obtained from the manufacturing plant, and brings more precision to the manufacturing process, eliminating any possibility of mistake.

The quality control that was previously dependent on human factor is now totally automated, leaving no chance for a human error. The Examination’s artificial intelligence automatically controls the entire tyre production, and ensures it meets with over 400 check points throughout the process to ensure the plant always produces the perfect tyre, every time.

NANO-TECHNOLOGY

Another new feature in tyre technology to emerge in recent years is the 4D Nano Design to come from Sumitomo Rubber Industries. This innovative new simulation technology has resulted in tyres that can last twice as long!

It does this by offering a way to look inside the rubber structure and observe how the compounds are behaving on a nano-level. No wonder it won the ‘Tyre Technology of the Year’ recently then?

Armed with important data gained by using the 4D Nano Design manufacturers have been able to produce tyre compounds that can last twice as long as previous examples, while still offering similar levels of performance. The technology shows great promise in the development of new, durable, high-performance materials, with Falken Tyres presenting their most efficient energy-saving tyre to date –aimed at the hybrid and electric car market – at Geneva recently.

With an A-A rating in the EU tyre labeling system, it’s proved to be highly economical and great in the wet too. See how it compares to some the of the current tyres on the market, and you’ll soon realise that an A-A rating is no mean feat!

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