Hankook Tire CEO and President Hyun Bum Cho reports the company showed tangible results in its efforts for technology-based innovation and digital transformation by developing the Virtual Compound Design (VCD) system, a predictive model for tire compound properties using artificial intelligence.
The VCD system uses technology that predicts the characteristics of compounds and draws the most optimal combination of the materials through artificial intelligence analysis, which is based on accumulated data without actual testing during the tire compound development.
The development process is very complicated as the tire compound, a mixture of more than 15 types of materials such as natural rubber, synthetic rubber and carbon black, has different properties depending on diverse variables, including temperature, facilities, order of combination, and pressure, as well as the ratio of combinations of each material. Generally, it takes six months to three years to develop a new compound, but this period is expected to be reduced by 50% if artificial intelligence is used.
The new development system operates within the cloud platform by creating a digital twin, a twin of real-life objects, repeating the process of reflecting results derived from virtual simulations into reality and affecting each other over reality and virtual reality to find improved results. Tens of thousands of units of data have been analyzed through cloud computing platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google’s TensorFlow, an artificial intelligence engine, continuing their evolution through machine learning.
Hankook Tire's efforts for innovation started as an internal research project and has been accelerated and solidified by collaboration with Korea’s top research institute. As Hankook signed an agreement with Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) early this year on research on future technologies, cooperation was undertaken on the project. Since then, the accuracy of data analysis has been greatly improved, currently showing an increased reliability of more than 95%.
Successfully applying artificial intelligence in predicting compound properties, Hankook Tire is planning to expand the technology to the entire process of developing tires that range from material selection, design, tire test, production including mass production. In addition, the company plans to accelerate the introduction of data-based innovative technologies based on accumulated data throughout the tire industry ecosystem, ranging from materials supply and demand, design, R&D, testing, production, distribution and customer usage, without limitations on certain development areas.
Hankook Tire has been strengthening its future competitiveness through technology-based innovation, along with its change of mission in May. The company is also securing future-oriented innovative technologies by utilizing a global R&D network that is built around Hankook Technodome, Hankook Tire’s state-of-the-art research and development facility.
Along with reinforcing its qualitative growth and competitiveness, Hankook Tire is solidifying its position as a global leading company in the automotive industry by boosting the new growth system centered on technology, brand, and network, the company states.