The Goodyear Eagle-360 Concept tyre has snapped up Time magazine’s “Best Inventions of the Year 2016”.

The Goodyear Eagle-360 Concept, first unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, is a spherical, 3-D printed tyre that highlights the brand’s vision for the future and presents an inspiring solution for the long-term future when autonomous driving is expected to be more mainstream.

The unique shape of the Goodyear Eagle-360 could contribute to safety and maneuverability to match the demands of autonomous mobility.The spherical shape of the tyre is key to delivering ultimate maneuverability. The multi-orientation tyres move in all directions, contributing to passenger safety. Active technology allows the tire to move as needed to reduce sliding from potential hazards, such as black ice or sudden obstacles, so it contributes to staying on a safe path.

In addition, the spherical shape of the Goodyear Eagle-360 provides a smooth ride by creating a fluid, lateral movement. This helps the car to overtake an obstacle without changing its driving direction.

Finally, because 360 degree turns are possible with this tyre, it could tackle anticipated parking constrictions of the future, as less space will be needed for cars fitted with spherical tyres to pull into parking spots. Assuming public parking areas play the same role, this could significantly increase the capacity of public parking areas without increasing their size.

To connect with the body of the car, the Goodyear Eagle-360 concept tyre relies on magnetic levitation. The tyre is suspended from the car by magnetic fields, similar to magnetic levitation trains, which   increases passenger comfort and reduces noise.

Goodyear imagined another feature, connectivity, to optimize driving conditions in autonomous vehicles, which is brought to life in three features: sensors inside the tyre, tread wear and pressure monitoring technology and tread produced by a 3-D printer.

Elements of the Eagle-360 design showcase biomimicry, which is the imitation of nature, a principle Goodyear often uses in its designs. The tread mimics the pattern of brain coral, and its multidirectional blocks and grooves help to secure a safe contact patch.

Time magazine’s Best Inventions of the year

Time magazine’s technology editors list the year’s “best inventions that are making the world better, smarter and, in some cases, a little more fun”.  This year’s list includes 25 inventions, which in addition to Goodyear’s Eagle-360 concept, includes a virtual reality headset, shoes that lace themselves, a solar roof collaboration between Tesla and SolarCity, and the Chevy Bolt EV.