Hankook’s Transforming Tire featured on cover of ‘Science Robotics’
- ‘Transforming Tire’ concept co-developed by Hankook Tire and SNU was published in Science Robotics, a renowned international science journal
- The project demonstrates Hankook Tire’s technological innovation that leads the future of driving
Seoul, Korea, April 8, 2021 – Global leading tire company Hankook Tire developed ‘TRANSFORMING TIRE’ in collaboration with a research team from Seoul National University (SNU) led by Professor Kyu-Jin Cho from the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. Professor Cho is also a director of the Human-centric Soft Robotics Research Center. The paper on the collaboration project was published in Science Robotics, a renowned international science journal and was featured on the cover of the April issue.
The TRANSFORMING TIRE was developed based on material and production technology of Hankook Tire’s research team and design technology of SNU’s research team. It is a variable-type tire that has adopted the structure of paper folding crafts to transform its shape in response to road conditions. It can be equipped to vehicles that weighs as heavy as 1 ton and embodies Hankook’s technological capabilities and leadership in creating the future of driving.
Hankook first unveiled the TRANSFORMING TIRE in 2019 as the fourth output of its 'The Next Driving Lab' project that demonstrates the company’s commitment to providing an innovative future driving experience that has never been introduced before.
TRANSFORMING TIRE incorporated shape-varying structure technology derived from special paper folding craft techniques that can withstand heavy loads. It was designed to transform into a smaller diameter tire on the pavement to ensure stability and fast responsiveness while transforming into a larger diameter tire with tread blocks on unpaved rough roads to ensure high-performance mobility. Thereby it allows drivers to enjoy stable driving on any road condition with a single tire.
Moreover, the tire‘s diameter can be changed ranging from 450mm to 800mm to withstand load weighing over 1 ton. It opens up possibilities for various applications featuring unpredictability and requiring high-performance mobility such as delivery robots and space exploration vehicles.
Futher research and development will be carried on to be able to apply the technology to the road cars in the future but the project has made an achievement in proving the feasibliity of variable-type tire technology.
“We belive this project represents a synergy between academia with new ideas and a company with industry-leading technology capabilities. The TRANSFORMING TIRE which has started from a question ‘why should a tire be in one form?‘ challenged the stereotype and showed the company’s commitment to innovation. We expect the developed technology can be highly utilized not only in the tire industry but also in the mobility service industry as a whole. Hankook Tire will continue to challenge the limits of tires and display our innovative brand values," says Bonhee Ku, Senior Vice President and CTO of Hankook Tire & Technology.
Professor Cho of SNU adds, "The research, which began with a small paper craft of a wheel in 2013, has made a big leap thanks to a company with tire technology. I hope this achievement can be appreciated as a process of creating innovation."
Hankook’s 'The Next Driving Lab' project is a campaign that conveys challenge spirit and innovative DNA of the company with the slogan 'Who Creates the Driving?'. The project has presented the ‘Digital Creative Car’ at downtown Seoul as the first output in 2013. In 2014, the ‘Mind Reading Tire’, a tire powered by a human’s brainwave, was unveiled as the second output and in 2015, the ‘Ball Pin Tire’ capable of moving in a full 360-degree circle was introduced as the third output.