The Korean Hankook concern presented an atypical tire during CES 2022. I-Flex does not resemble typical tires, and was also designed for future-proof vehicles that will be able to turn on the spot.
The Hankook iFlex tire is distinguished by its openwork structure filling it. According to the manufacturer, it is a solution inspired by the nature and arrangement of cells in the bodies of living organisms, and the “honeycombs” that form it have different properties. Thanks to this solution, the innovative tire is both stiff and flexible, reconciling opposing issues such as high-quality shock absorption and the ability to work under a significant load.
Hankook has unveiled another, new installment of an innovative idea in conjunction with the Hyundai-designed L7 wheeled platform, which is to be the basis for the construction of various types of vehicles and robots in the future. For this reason, the wheels used have an unusual property – they can rotate even up to an angle of 90 degrees in relation to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle.
In practice, this means that – also thanks to the special tread layer – the tire provides adequate traction regardless of the direction of rotation and the angle at which it is positioned.
Tire for autonomous vehicles
Thanks to this, vehicles such as the L7 can maneuver almost on the spot, changing the direction of travel without having to reorient the entire chassis, which allows, among other things, on running in or parking in very tight spaces.
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Hankook emphasizes that puncture resistance is just one of the advantages of the tire shown. Another very an important feature is to be low operating costs, resulting from the lack of the need to inflate or monitor tire pressure, making the i-Flex an ideal solution for autonomous vehicles.
The presented version of the non-pneumatic tire is not yet a finished product – Hankook said he was “continuing to research to drive further improvements.”