Goodyear released a new concept—Goodyear Oxygene the “Photosynthesis Tire”—at the Geneva Motor Show. The idea features a 3-d printed tire that is made from the dust of recycled tires. Those tires are made in an open structure that allows the tires to “breathe”, which is a good thing as the tire houses living moss. Because of the open structure, the tire brings in carbon dioxide, which the moss then converts to oxygen through photosynthesis. The tire is also capable of wicking water from the road to hydrate the moss. The tire is able to harness the energy released in the photosynthesis process to power sensors, artificial intelligence, and a light strip.
The concept also uses a technology called “visible light communications system” or “LiFi.” This technology would theoretically allow the tire to communicate with other cars as well as infrastructure—a huge step toward autonomous vehicles.
It’s not clear that this tire will ever move from the concept stage to the showroom floor, but that’s not necessarily the purpose. The world faces a huge challenge with worn tires as well as an incredible amount of pollution from exhaust. The idea behind the tire is to address these concerns. While we may never see Oxygene on the highway, the thought behind it may spark an innovation that could become a reality—and that’s a good first step.