Hyundai and Kia have developed a tire with integrated “snow chains”. The technology is quite interesting, but it will require serious changes in the design of the entire wheel assembly. The main element here is the shape memory alloy grips, like those on NASA’s Mars rovers. When current is applied, the hooks can be restored to their original state, so they can be retracted or extended by simply pressing a button.
Hyundai Motor and Kia have introduced new tire technology with integrated “snow chains”. A patent has already been filed for it, but we won’t see something like this on production cars anytime soon. The Korean development fundamentally changes the design of the entire wheel assembly, so there is a long and rather specific work ahead to create and debug new technical processes. Nevertheless, the solution is interesting, and most importantly, it can really make winter travel safer.
The essence of the proposal is as follows. Radial grooves are made on the tire, in which special brackets are installed. These hooks go inside the wheel rim, and they are partially made of a special alloy with shape memory. In the inactive state, the staple is clamped and its leg is shaped like the letter L, but as soon as current is applied, the leg straightens to J and pushes the hook out. The resulting ridges improve traction, plus the driver does not have to get out of the car and do anything manually. Another unobvious advantage of the technology is that when lowered, the brackets begin to make noise as the tread wears, signaling the need to replace the tires.