Goodyear Unveils Concept for a Tire that Doubles as a Propeller

Tilting tire is designed for flying cars of the perhaps not-so-distant future.

Goodyear Aero Concept Tire
The Goodyear Aero concept tire would use frictionless magnetic propulsion to power future flying cars.Courtesy Goodyear

A tire that can morph into an aircraft propeller? Goodyear thinks it's the perfect solution for autonomous flying cars of the future that would ride on the thin, airless tires, which could then pivot like a tiltrotor to provide propulsion as the wheel's spokes double as fan blades.

The Goodyear Aero concept introduced this week at the Geneva Auto Show would use frictionless magnetic propulsion to function both as a tire for driving on the road and a "propeller" for flying through the sky. Promotional videos on YouTube show the tires tilting upward as a vehicle rises from the surface of a roadway.

"This unique airless tire uses a non-pneumatic structure that is flexible enough to dampen shocks when driving on the road and strong enough to rotate at the high speeds necessary for the rotors to create vertical lift," the company said in a news release.

Goodyear says the design would include fiber-optic sensors to monitor road conditions, tire wear and structural integrity along with an embedded A.I. processor that would analyze vehicle data to allow for adaptions to flying or driving modes and identify and resolve potential tire-related issues.

The potentially deflating news for technophiles eagerly dreaming of a future in which flying cars become the preferred mode of urban transportation is that Goodyear admits the idea is purely conceptual and is intended merely to jumpstart a debate on the future of tire and transport technologies.