AKRON (Nov. 22, 2016) — Time magazine has named Goodyear's Eagle-360 — a spherical, 3-D printed concept tire, one of its 25 best inventions of 2016.
The Eagle-360 is purely a concept tire — its “contact” with the vehicle is by an untested theoretical magnetic levitation process — but one that “showcases some of Goodyear's best innovative thinking and how the needs of future drivers can be addressed,” Jean-Claude Kihn, president of Goodyear EMEA said in March when the concept debuted at the Geneva International Motor Show.
In its commentary on the Eagle-360, Time acknowledged that: “To be sure, these tires won't hit pavement anytime soon: they're meant for self-driving cars that are likely at least five years away.”
The magazine went on to quote Goodyear engineer Sebastiaen Fontaine: In order to shift the status quo, “we need different companies working with us, together.”
According to Goodyear, the conceptual Eagle-360's spherical shape is the key to its maneuverability, mobility and passenger safety. A video produced by the tire maker shows how the tires would rest below the vehicle, held in place by magnetic levitation similar to magnetic levitation trains.