Inspired by nature, the tire of the future, according to Michelin, works airless, adapts to circumstances, can be repaired in a 3D printer and even communicates with the vehicle. And it’s not even black.
This week in Montreal, Canada, the Movin’ON conference organised annually by Michelin and dedicated to sustainable mobility took place. An event used by the French manufacturer to make known what, in its perspective, could (or should …) be the tire of the future. Visionary Concept of its name uses a honeycomb structure that allows it to run without air, making the own “rim” part of the tire. A generative (and colourful) “design”, as Michelin defines it, which aims to replicate the natural growth process of the vegetable, mineral and animal worlds – for example, corals.
The tire tread, when damaged or worn, can be reshaped by making use of 3D printing technology. For this, Michelin predicts that in future it will be enough for drivers who need to repair their tires to go to a location where there is a 3D printer, select an option in the vehicle itself and the floor will be remade and applied to the tire by the Machine in real time.
Being the Visionary Concept of a prototype still in its initial stage of development, Michelin stresses that its durability is still to be determined. But, being composed of several biodegradable materials, and completely recyclable at the end of its life cycle, the objective is that it last at least as long as the vehicle in which it is installed, thanks to such solution that allows printing the areas of the floor that have to be replaced.
Michelin also points out that it is a “smart” tire that can send information about the condition of your tread (wear, damage, holes, etc.) directly to the vehicle and even request a repair on the mentioned printers, depending on the distance to which the destination is. This is a solution that may be much closer to reality than many would imagine, and will certainly be implemented faster than the airless tire: while some other tire manufacturers project their availability in 10 -20 years, Michelin states that in just two or three years it may already be integrated into passenger and light commercial vehicle tires.