For the last few years, Goodyear has rolled into the Geneva Motor Show with new tire designs that could be described as intriguing concepts at best and crazy, outlandish ideas at worst. Either way, they do provoke thought around the future of transport and this year’s rendition is no different, hiding living moss inside the sidewall to cleanse the surrounding air as the car rolls down the road.
Goodyear’s earlier concepts have included tires that convert heat and motion into an electrical current, a spherical tire that enables cars to drive sideways, and another spherical version that incorporates artificial intelligence.
The newly announced Oxygene won’t spin sideways, but it will harvest energy through photosynthesis. It inhales C02 from the air and moisture from the road, feeding a living moss in its sidewall and releasing oxygen into the air. The way Goodyear sees it, in a city the size of Paris with 2.5 million vehicles on the road, a society-wide adoption of the Oxygene tire would create 3,000 tons of oxygen and soak up more than 4,000 tons of C02 a year.
What’s more, the tire would also capture energy generated during photosynthesis and use it to power electronics inside it, such as onboard sensors, a customizable safety light, and an artificial intelligence processing unit. It would also use Li-Fi to hook up with the Internet of Things and talk to other cars and road infrastructure. The tread would be 3D-printed using rubber powder from recycled tires.
This thing is never going to make it onto the road, at least not in its current form – scientists have been trying to draw meaningful amounts of energy from artificial photosynthesis for decades, for example – but take it for what it is, a thought experiment in how we might move people around cities in cleaner, more environmentally ways, and it is certainly an interesting idea. Check out the video below.