We tend to treat cars as a basic element of our lives but if you think about how complex their construction is, you realise that it must have taken quite a few genius minds to bring together
this hunk of metal into one of the most sophisticated machines known to mankind. However, as we are going further into the digital era, the need to upgrade vehicles with modern gadgets is taking preference in auto engineering. Where other car parts are progressing significantly, one among them is knocking down all the barriers in terms of innovation and that is none other than a tyre.
Reality check, the automobile industry wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for the cleverly designed tyre technologies. To give credit where it’s due, below are some of the facts on how car tyres have been modernized over the centuries and where they might be in the near future.
Learning from history
It all started with the invention of the wheel back in 3500 AD when people realised that it could be useful for transportation. Things went on as such until the discovery and vulcanization of rubber by Charles Goodyear in the 19th century. By 1845 the first tyre was patented by the Scottish inventor Robert William Thomson who shaped it by wrapping multiple rubber tubes around a leather cover. It wasn’t until 1888 when pneumatic rubber tyres found their practical value thanks to the efforts of a Scottish inventor John Dunlop.
From there onwards we can see huge names enter the tyre industry. Michelin brothers created the first detachable pneumatic tyre in 1891. While Phillip Strauss holds the honour of developing the first automobile tyre in 1911, thanks to which tyres gained commercial importance. After that, we saw them transform from synthetic rubber to tubeless ones until the first radical tyres came out in 1948 with many parties like Michelin and Ford claiming this invention. Finally, in 1976, tyres were standardized by Pirelli and they are still sold globally with certain modifications.
What does the future hold for car tyres?
The tyres we use today are embedded with the same principles as the past ones but have a touch of modernity to them. Since the new era demands tyres to be smooth, strong gripped, environmentally friendly and help the vehicles consume less fuel, various companies are working on different prototypes to suit every consumer’s need.
ContiSeal tyres by Continental guarantee to self-seal a punctured tread. As holes remain sealed even if the puncturing object becomes dislodged, this possibly means the end of roadside tire changes. Another tyre technology that might change our future is Eagle 360 Urban tyre concept by Goodyear. Combined with artificial intelligence these smart tyres will revolutionise the connection between tyres, vehicles, and the surroundings. Their ability to interact and sense the road conditions and then decide on the route is a really thrilling feature. These types of technologies will definitely innovate the way we travel and commute.
Eco-friendly technology seems to be the mission of today’s tyre manufacturers. Goodyear has found a way to bring it closer to us by introducing Oxygene tyres. With its internal lining filled with moss, the whole tyre is constructed in such a manner that the moisture absorbed in the treads causes the moss to photosynthesize and release oxygen in the surrounding.
Another interesting innovation is Bridgestone’s Quiet Track Tyre. It reduces road noise and provides a quiet, comfortable ride without any compromise on the tyre strength and compatibility throughout seasonal changes.
The tyre manufacturers are always striving to create new concepts that will change the automotive industry. Pirelli has already been integrating the latest 5G technology to construct the most intelligent tyres the world has ever seen.
Goodyear isn’t holding back either and has introduced the ReCharge tyres concept with biodegradable treads that can regenerate the rubber. The concept looks at how to curb the waste of tyres and make them more of the permanent structure. General Motors and Michelin came up with Uptis tyres. According to the manufacturers, these airless and more sustainable tyres will dominate the automobile industry.
With so much in the pipeline, we can safely assume that the future looks promising for the tyre industry and together with the automotive sector they are going to revolutionise the world of transportation.