Driving towards a future with cleaner air with moss filled tires
With electric cars becoming more popular, driving becomes more sustainable. The tire manufacturing Goodyear wants to add to that even more by introducing a new type of puncture-proof 3D-printed car tire that reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the air by embedding living moss in the tires’ sideways.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 80% of people who live in air pollution-measured urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits.
The concept tires called Oxygene have a unique structure that features living moss growing within the sidewall. The open structure and the tire’s thread design allow the moss to absorb moisture and water from the road surface. In turn, the water contributes to the moss’ photosynthesis, in which carbon dioxide is converted into oxygen, thus cleaning the air.
The structure of the tires is achieved by 3D printing rubber powder from recycled tires, which also reduces the amount of material used. In addition, the structure is puncture-proof and shock-absorbing. The open structure also increases wet grip.
Aside from moss, the Oxygene tires also generate their own energy, harvesting the energy created during photosynthesis, to power its embedded electronics, including on-board sensors, an artificial intelligence processing unit, and a customisable light strip in the tire’s sidewall that switches colours to warn road users and pedestrians of upcoming manoeuvres such as lane changes or braking.
The tires also use a visible light communications system, or LiFi, for high-capacity mobile connectivity at the speed of light. The LiFi enables the tire to connect with the Internet of Things, allowing vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure data exchange.
Sounds futuristic? That’s because it is. The tires are only conceptual, and it is unclear at this point if Goodyear will produce prototypes, let alone bring the tires to the market. For now, though, enjoy Goodyear’s equally futuristic video.