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Hankook exhibits airless concept tyre

Hankook is currently showcasing its non-pneumatic tyre (NPT) ‘i-Flex’ in a joint entry with Hyundai Motor Company at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 in Las Vegas.

At the show, Hyundai has unveiled the Plug & Drive (PnD) Module for the first time. It’s based on robotics technology that enables Mobility of Things (MoT), an ecosystem in which all objects are mobile.

Hankook Tire’s i-Flex is fitted to maximise characteristics and functions of the PnD module. The i-Flex is described by Hankook as a “futuristic non-pneumatic concept tyre featuring biomimetic design”.

It is 10-inch in size with a diameter of 400mm and a width of 105mm. Because it has no air in it unlike conventional tyres, safety can be better secured in accidents caused by punctures.

Furthermore, it does not require air pressure maintenance, making it an optimal solution for autonomous vehicles, according to Hankook.

Hankook says the i-Flex was developed through rigorous biomimetic studies and testing. In order to absorb road shocks and bear a load, it adopted the design of a multi-layer interlocking spoke inspired by the cellular structure of living organisms.

The multi-layer interlocking spoke structures the cell in three-dimensional for better shock absorption while allowing hexagonal and tetragonal cell structures of different rigidity join together for more stable load support.

In addition, a C-shaped concave profile has been applied to secure a maximised contact patch, enabling safe driving. A pattern optimised for multi-directional vehicular motion was also adopted by employing the cell structure shape to the tread design, the tyre maker says.