It's time again for Hankook Tire's biennial design school team-up, where they task ID students with developing futuristic tire concepts. Last time 'round they paired up with Cincinnati's DAAP, and this year they're at Germany's University of Design, Engineering and Business in Pforzheim. And once again, not only did the students did not disappoint, but pulled off some real socks-knockers!
The central trend is to stop looking at the tire as a rubber cladding for a wheel, and to think of it instead as something that works together with an actively transforming wheel to create some ker-azy functionality. Now maybe I'm biased because I know ID students were involved, but the following video showing the three winning concepts in action is more exciting than any action movie trailer you'll see:
Here are some further descriptions of the concepts, in the order in which they appeared in the video:
Boostrac boasts hexagonal tread blocks that can transform into an expanded mode for intensified traction—especially on steep and rough conditions such as desert and mountain roads.
Alpike, along with the studs and gaps, is designed with a tyre circumferential expansion mode, which increases vehicle ground clearance, making it optimal for heavy snow.
HyBlade is designed to provide the ideal solution for heavy rain. It's equipped with 'waterwheel' tread and side spokes that create driving and steering force in heavy rain.
We can only assume the concepts were jointly designed by Pforzheim's students, as no individual names were credited. The excellent video, by the way, was created by the CG company and digital media lab NESIAC.