These Goodyear Intelligrip tyres will give driverless cars fingertip sensitivity

At this week’s Geneva Motor Show, Goodyear introduced a brand-new concept tyre that could make autonomous vehicles drive even better than humans. Called the Intelligrip, the tyre manufacturer’s latest concept packs in several sensors to get an even better read of the road, and then feeds it to the car’s autonomous systems. The result? The car’s ECU can “understand” and “feel” every bump on the road, and then react in a more intelligent way.

These Goodyear Intelligrip tyres will give driverless cars fingertip sensitivity

Smart gloves for cars

“It’s a concept tyre with autonomous driving in mind, and we know that what matters most to drivers or passengers is autonomous vehicles is safety,” Goodyear’s Etienne Besnoin told us. “We believe that the tyres are in a critical position, and would provide very important information that cannot be gathered by [a] different manner because they are in direct contact with the road.”


Although sensors used for autonomous driving are highly accurate and responsive, they can’t yet replicate the feel or experience of a human driver – but Goodyear’s Intelligrip tyres could improve that dramatically. In effect, Goodyear’s tyres will give autonomous cars a more detailed picture of the road around them, and also give them longer to react appropriately.

Crazy tread patterns

One of the most eye-catching things about the Intelligrip tyres is their complex, unusual tread patterns, but Besnoin says there’s a reason for those, too. “The tread is specially designed so that the tread can operate in an optimum manner. It’s a little bit like when you have a glove on your hand, we cannot really feel the surface of what we touch,” Besnoin says.

“The tread really acts like that, so the tyre sensor feels the road very fast, and as fast as needed in the case of safety situations.” Although Goodyear isn’t totally sure which sensors could be used yet, we were told that they could include anything from heat sensors to tyre pressure.


It looks like the technology might not just be restricted to truly driverless cars, however. Systems we currently take for granted, such as traction and stability control, could also benefit from Goodyear’s sensor-infused tyres. Current systems react to changes in wheels speeds the same way – regardless of weather, temperature or even the level of tread in the fitted tyres. If systems such as traction control had more information, they’d be able to react more intelligently to specific situations.

Goodyear says it’s already talking to carmakers about exactly how to implement the tyres, so they could be on your car sooner rather than later. 

Read next: Tesla Model X hands on

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