SEOUL, Jan. 7 (UPI) — South Korean manufacturer Hankook Tire showcased an airless tire, dubbed “i-Flex,” during the Consumer Electronics Show 2022 in Las Vegas.
The Seoul-based company said that, unlike conventional products, the new tire does not require air, thanks to its biomimetic design.
The tire is made up of a multi-layer interlocking spoke that helps support the load-bearing structure and absorb shock, the company said.
The 10-inch tire does not need regular checkups for air pressure and prevents accidents generated by flat tires, Hankook said.
“i-Flex is suitable for autonomous driving vehicles because its unique prototype is designed for a maximum ground plane,” a Hankook representative said.
“The new product has already gained customers, as it was used for Hyundai Motor’s latest robotics mobility platform, called Plug & Drive module.”
The module from Hyundai is an all-in-one mobility solution, which brings together intelligent steering, braking, in-wheel electric drive and suspension hardware.
Hankook Tire has developed non-pneumatic tire technologies over the past decade, which gave rise to i-Flex.
Experts say that similar products will follow suit.
“We did not previously think that tires do not require air. But in fact, airless tires can be much safer than existing ones that need air pressure,” Daelim University automotive Professor Kim Pil-soo told UPI News Korea.
“In line with other automotive innovations like electric vehicles and driverless cars, more and more unprecedented technologies are to arrive in the future,” he said.
Many new auto innovations are being rolled out in conjunction with the annual consumer electronics show, which runs through Friday.