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Hankook Tire exhibits futuristic airless concept tire i-Flex at Defense & Security Expo Korea 2022

2022. 09. 21

- Fitting to Hyundai Rotem’s multi-purpose unmanned ground vehicle to support military operations
- Designed to deliver quick traction and rotational function for autonomous vehicles on off-road terrains
- Continuous effort in R&D since 2010 on various new projects including non-pneumatic tires

Seoul, Korea, September 21, 2022 – Global leading tire company Hankook Tire will showcase its non-pneumatic tire (NPT) ‘i-Flex’ at Hyundai Rotem’s exhibition booth in the Defense & Security Expo Korea (DX KOREA) 2022 from September 21 to 25.

At DX KOREA 2022, Hyundai Rotem, a global heavy industry company that specializes in manufacturing rolling stock, military equipment and plant engineering, will unveil its multi-purpose unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) developed for military operations. The UGV model on display is an upgraded version of Hyundai Rotem’s previous UGV model. The previous model was successfully supplied to the army on July 2021, and it satisfied 100% of the required function evaluation items. In order to reinforce functions in case of emergencies, Hankook Tire’s NPT tire, i-Flex, equipped with upgraded autonomous driving sensors has been applied to the UGV.

The i-Flex is a futuristic non-pneumatic concept tire that is in development for unmanned vehicles driving on off-road terrains. As a refined version of its first generation, the i-Flex to be exhibited is 17-inches in size. Unlike conventional tires, the i-Flex does not contain air inside, meaning that safety can be better secured in accidents caused by punctures. Furthermore, it does not require air pressure maintenance, ensuring optimal mobility in all conditions.

In order to support heavy loads and evenly distribute the vehicle’s weight, it adopted the design of a dual-arch structure. The outer arch primarily absorbs irregular shocks transmitted from the off-road surface, while the inner arch alleviates further shocks that are transmitted to the vehicle’s actuator. The inner and outer arches of the i-Flex are connected by an integral hinge, to provide stability in its overall form.

In addition, technology to allow for 360-degree rotation in place have been applied to the tread pattern of the i-Flex. Tailored to meet the needs of military vehicles, a trapezoidal sidewall was adopted to quickly transmit the rotational force of the vehicle’s engine to the road surface when the vehicle rotates autonomously.

Hankook Tire is dedicated to building a more sustainable future in mobility, and as part, has been working on non-pneumatic tire technology since 2010. The continuous effort led to the birth of the i-Flex, an airless tire with safety, low maintenance and sustainability, serving as an ideal solution for future mobility. Hankook is continuing R&D for further improvement.

Hankook Innovative Performance (H.I.P), Hankook Tire’s philosophy for technology, is at the core of the company’s commitment to upgrading a safe and enjoyable driving sensibility as well as to making future mobility a reality. Hankook Tire will continue to carry out projects for leading changes in the future while strengthening its competitiveness in the market with its innovative technologies.