Michelin sees a future where tires are connected, biodegradable, and modular.
There's no reason why tires shouldn't evolve at the same pace as the rest of the automotive industry, according to Michelin. The French company has released a concept named Visionary that previews what the wheel of tomorrow might look like.
Michelin's 22nd century-esque video shows how tire tech can be integrated into the navigation system. Notably, the software warns you that you'll need snow tires if it detects your final destination is in the mountains. That's relatively easy to implement even today, but the concept takes things a few steps further.
The car -- which presumably drives itself as it meanders through the wacky-looking landscapes of the future -- stops at a purpose-built station with mushroom-like structures built right before the area where snow tires become necessary. There, machines use 3D printing technology to turn the regular all-season tires into snow tires. This eliminates the need to have two sets of wheels, or carry around tire chains.
The tire can also be configured to provide more grip on fun, twisty roads, or low-rolling resistance when fuel economy is a priority.
Interestingly, the tire and the rim appear to be integrated into a single unit. It's fully connected, meaning it provides real-time information about its condition. Motorists will no longer have an excuse to drive on bald tires.
Michelin's modular tire concept is airless, made from recycled material, and fully recyclable. It's also biodegradable.
The Visionary tire is wildly futuristic, but Michelin calls it a "realistic dream." However, don't expect to buy a car with a set of 3D-printed tires anytime soon.