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Goodyear reveals spherical tyres for self-driving cars

The concept for the Eagle-360 tyres is on show at this year's Geneva Motor Show, and designed specifically for self-driving vehicles.

Eagle 360 tyre by Goodyear

Each spherical tyre would be suspended from the car by magnetic fields – using similar technology to magnetic levitation (maglev) trains. According to Goodyear, this will increase passenger comfort and reduce noise.

Eagle 360 tyre by Goodyear

Its tread would be 3D printed, and customised to suit the driver's habits and location.

The concept includes embedded sensors that would communicate road and weather conditions to the vehicle's control system.

The coral-patterned tread also behaves like a natural sponge – responding to wet weather by softening, while stiffening in dry condition

Eagle 360 tyre by Goodyear

Goodyear claims that the multi-orientation tyres could contribute to passenger safety, by allowing the vehicle to move in all directions and avoid obstacles faster. Built-in sensors could also enable the tyre to detect and negotiate around patches of black ice.

"By steadily reducing the driver interaction and intervention in self-driving vehicles, tyres will play an even more important role as the primary link to the road," said Goodyear's senior vice president Joseph Zekoski."Goodyear's concept tyres play a dual role in that future both as creative platforms to push the boundaries of conventional thinking and test beds for next-generation technologies," he added.