Tyres are an industry where technology is moving faster than you’d expect. Advances in tread patterns, tyre compounds as well as further developments in vehicle suspension and handling dynamics have constantly moved the goalposts of what makes a good tyre.

Industry big name Hankook Tire has announced an innovative tyre compounds prediction model they call VCD (Virtual Compound Design).

The goal of VCD is leveraging artificial intelligence to predict how various tyre compounds will behave under different conditions.

Tyres are made up of many types of materials including both natural and synthetic rubber, carbon black, silica additives and more. Each material has its own dynamic properties but when they’re combined - that’s when the magic happens. 

The final tyre compound can change significantly depending on several factors, including:
  • Temperature at which the tyre is vulcanised at (heated under pressure to ‘cure’
  • Order in which the materials are combined
  • Pressure the tyre is put under whilst being cured
As you can imagine, there’s a lot of trial and error involved with staying ahead of the curve. Hankook states that the development phase of a new tyre compound can take anywhere between 6 months to 3 years.

However, by using artificial intelligence (AI) the company is expecting development times to reduce by half! This is pretty impressive and great news for us consumers, regardless of our style of driving.

Hankook Technodome Research and Development Facility

As well as using the VCD technology to predict tyre compounds properties, Hankook Tire is hoping to use the technology in the rest of their tyre manufacturing process. Hankook claim that AI will be able to assist them with material selection, compound design, tread pattern analysis, virtual tyre testing procedures as well as actual mass manufacturing. All in the name of producing better tyres for you and I - and in a much shorter span of time.

Hankook Tire has announced that they plan to heavily invest in future R&D. They believe that it is necessary in order to stay ahead of their competition.