To build the smart cities of tomorrow, we’ll need to see a vast revamp of all of the systems and technologies in place. Roads and neighborhoods will be reconfigured from the ground up, as people move through urban spaces on foot, bicycles and autonomous driverless cars.
While many new technologies will find a home in these self-driving cars, don’t forget their core mode of propulsion: tires.
And a peek into tech trends suggests that the basic material of tires—rubber—will also evolve. At this point, a range of options are in play. Barry Van Bergen, who directs the Oil & Gas strategy group at KPMG frames the choices with a series of questions: Will tires mechanically generate electricity as they spin to help charge vehicles? Will these tires be 3-D printed in labs? How will tire performance need to change to reflect the different ways that tomorrow’s cars are driven? “Once you have robotics take over the task of driving, you’ll have to optimize such things in a different way,” says Van Bergen.