Michelin’s revolutionary Vision concept tire has been selected as one of Time magazine’s “25 Best Inventions of 2017.”
“On behalf of Michelin and the many designers and engineers involved in bringing the Vision concept to life, we are honored to receive this recognition from the editors at TIME Magazine,” said Terry Gettys, global head of research and development for Michelin Group, based in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
The Vision concept tire, introduced earlier this year at Michelin’s Movin’On summit for sustainable mobility in Montréal, represents an innovative combination of four technologies: airless, organic, rechargeable and connected.
Airless. The Vision concept is an airless tire-and-wheel assembly, dramatically advancing the Michelin X TWEEL Airless Radial, which was selected as one of Time’s “Best Inventions” in 2005 and is now commercially available for specific industrial and low-speed applications.
Organic. The structure is derived from materials that are organic, bio-sourced, renewable and easily recycled for other applications.
Rechargeable. Perhaps the most intriguing feature, the Vision concept tire can be “recharged” on demand with a 3D-printed tread, designed to be customized with biodegradable materials according to the driver’s mobility needs — summer, all-season, winter, on-road, off-road and so on — using service stations equipped with 3D-printing kiosks. Unlike tires today, the rechargeable tire could conceivably last for the life of the vehicle.
Connected. A tire structure that is embedded with sensors capable of detecting road conditions, maintenance requirements, adherence, and other necessary performances that are communicated to the vehicle, or to infrastructure networks on the smart roadways of the future.
“We believe the Vision concept is as beautiful as the natural world that inspires it, combining multiple technologies that together project the course for Michelin’s innovation in the years ahead,” Gettys said. “The ideas presented in the Vision concept have taken hold among vehicle designers, demonstrating a feasible vision of how the tire can provide essential contributions to sustainable mobility in the future.”