Intelligent Tires Of Tomorrow

Part of Hankook Tire’s annual Design Innovation Project, this collaboration with a student team at the Royal College of Art explores the theme, “Extending Future Life Beyond Mobility.” Adapted for autonomous vehicles in private, public, and commercial scenarios, the three resulting designs — dubbed Aeroflow, HLS 23, and Hexonic — identify and present solutions unique to each context.

Aeroflow is an advanced aerodynamic tire with maximized downforce for use in single driver or autonomous hyper-racing circuits of the future. It disperses the flow of air by instantaneously expanding the width of the treads while maintaining the contact surface. Hidden wings strengthen the downforce of the tire, enhancing stability in corners and traction in the straightaway. Additional fans on the lateral sides absorb the air and release it in the rear to maximize acceleration.

Hexonic is a smart tire that aims to maximize comfort and safety for autonomous vehicle passengers. This variable concept self-charges and self-diagnoses with built-in smart sensors that detect various road conditions. On-tread sensors collect the road information at the source, triggering the tread blocks on the modularized tire to protrude in order to enhance cornering performance with EAP (electroactive polymer) technology. Furthermore, the grooves created provide greater traction and water dispersion in wet conditions.

HLS-23 is a tire system that introduces a new solution for distributing products. Eight sensors on the left and right sides allow the HLS-23 tires to share their distance information in real time. Depending on the size and weight of the goods, tires may operate independently or in groups. The two-column treads works to control the speed and direction of the tires separately, which makes it possible to driving in a straight line or make 360-degree turns in one spot. Optimized for tight spaces, the system allows for efficiency and nimbleness during all stages of transport and delivery.