The latest concept tire from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. combines mobility with a vision for better air quality. The Oxygene tire features an open-style sidewall with moss living inside it. As the tire rolls moisture and water circulate from the road surface into the sidewall, allowing photosynthesis to occur, resulting in the release of oxygen into the air.
Goodyear, which has unveiled the tire at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show, cites statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) that more than 80% of people who live in air pollution-measured urban areas are exposed to air uality levels that exceed WHO limits.
"With more than two-thirds of the world population expected to live in cities by 2050, the demands on transport networks in urban environments will increase substantially," says Chris Delaney, president of Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa. "Smarter, greener infrastructure and transport will be crucial in addressing the most pressing challenges of urban mobility and development." The tire incorporates more than just air pollution into its design. Material waste and energy loss are also a focus of the Goodyear Oxygene.
Cleaning the air: Oxygene absorbs moisture from the road through its unique tread and inhales carbon dioxide from the air to feed the moss in its sidewall and release oxygen via photosynthesis. In a city similar in size to greater Paris with about 2.5 million vehicles, Goodyear says this would mean generating nearly 3,000 tons of oxygen and absorbing more than 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Recycling worn tires: Oxygene features a non-pneumatic construction that is 3D-printed with rubber powder from recycled tires. The structure is lightweight and shock-absorbing, and provides a long-lasting, puncture-free solution designed to extend the life of the tire and minimize service issues. Additional safety is ensured by the tire's open structure, which improves wet grip by helping absorb water from the tread.
Generating its own electricity: By harvesting the energy generated during photosynthesis the tire is capable of powering its embedded electronics, including onboard sensors, an artificial intelligence processing unit, and a customizable light strip in the tire's sidewall that switches colors. The colorful sidewall is capable of warning both road users and pedestrians of upcoming maneuvers, such as lane changes or braking. Communicating at the speed of light: Oxygene uses a visible light communications system, or LiFi, for high-capacity mobile connectivity at the speed of light. LiFi enables the tire to connect to the Internet of Things, allowing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) data exchange, which is critical to smart mobility management systems.
"Like the concept designs Goodyear has presented at Geneva in the past, Oxygene is meant to challenge our thinking and help drive the debate around smart, safe and sustainable future mobility," Delaney says. "By contributing in this way to cleaner air generation, the tire could help enhance quality of life and health for city-dwellers."
Those attending the Geneva International Motor Show can find Goodyear in Stand No. 2056.