Goodyear, the American tyre company, has showcased its latest concept tyre at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. Displayed as a solution for cleaner, more convenient, safer and more sustainable urban mobility, the ‘Oxygene’ concept has a unique structure that features living moss growing within the sidewall. This open structure and the tyre’s smart tread design absorb and circulate moisture and water from the road surface; this allows photosynthesis to occur and therefore oxygen gets released into the air.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) more than 80 percent of people who live in air pollution-measured urban areas are exposed to air quality 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,” said Chris Delaney, president, 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 company states that Oxygene is inspired by the principles of the circular economy, with emphasis on reducing material waste, emissions, and energy loss, the concept is designed to integrate seamlessly into future cityscapes, featuring several performance solutions:
Cleaning the air we breathe – It absorbs moisture from the road through its unique tread and inhales CO2 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, this would mean generating nearly 3,000 tonnes of oxygen and absorbing more than 4,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Recycling worn tyres – Oxygene features a non-pneumatic construction that is 3D-printed with rubber powder from recycled tyres. The lightweight, shock-absorbing structure provides a long-lasting, puncture-free solution intended to extend the life of the tyre and minimise service issues, delivering worry-free mobility. Additional safety is ensured by the tyre’s open structure, which improves wet grip by helping absorb water from the tread.
Generating its own electricity – It harvests the energy generated during photosynthesis to power its embedded electronics, including onboard sensors, an artificial intelligence processing unit, and a customisable light strip in the tyre’s sidewall that switches colours, warning both road users and pedestrians of upcoming manoeuvres, such as lane changes or braking.
Communicating at the speed of light – It uses a visible light communications system, or LiFi, for high-capacity mobile connectivity at the speed of light. LiFi enables the tyre to connect to the Internet of Things (IoT), 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. By contributing in this way to cleaner air generation, the tyre could help enhance quality of life and health for city-dwellers,” Delaney concluded.