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Design innovation, Creating ‘Future Mobility Vision’

Just as the history of transportation has continued from round wagon wheels to high-tech mobility systems such as autonomous driving and robotics, Hankook Tire launched the ‘Design Innovation Project’ in 2012. Based on its belief and philosophy that technology which started with tires may change the world of mobility, Hankook Tire has been researching and suggesting new possibilities which will lead to changes in the future smart city since 2013. Especially, this year has established a foundation for realizing the future scenario projects which have been studied so far. This is a direct step into the future mobility world envisioned by Hankook Tire.

High level of inspiration with creative imagination
And comprehensive technology that realizes the imagination 'Design Innovation Project'

What is 'Design Innovation Project?'

‘Urban Reshaping 2020’, the next-generation design project related to future city infrastructure and tires

The ‘Design Innovation Project’ is a project about studying the future smart city and the mobility which will change within it from futuristic tires to mobility, and proposing various innovative design solutions.

Particularly this year, Hankook Tire signed a partnership with technology-specialized enterprises in the Design Innovation Alliance to realize the future mobility to envision by expanding and systematizing its technology. It is aimed to propose and realize not only the mobility which will innovate the future, but also urban infrastructure which will stably and efficiently implement the mobility system.

  • HPS (Hankook Platform System)-Cell, developed as part of ‘Urban Reshaping 2020’ project. It is a mobile platform optimized for advanced technologies such as autonomous driving, artificial intelligence (AI), and smart city infrastructure.

Predicting changes in the future environment and presenting a vision for mobility.
‘Future Scenario Project Urban Reshaping 2022’

In ‘Urban Reshaping 2022’ to be announced this year, ‘SSM (Space Shifting Mobility)’, a new way of transportation using old tires, is on presentation. SSM is a mobility which can move in three dimensions, not only on the existing road surface, but also directly up and down the outer wall of a building.

With the building structure combined and disassembled, a function of the building can flexibly be expanded. The mobility function had a limit of ‘moving’ in the past while expectation is much higher in that the function can be extended to ‘space’ through SSM. In particular, Urban Reshaping 2022 reorganized the infrastructure of the entire city, including the internal and external structures of the building as well as mobility. It predicted the efficiency of movement in the city through mobility and the change from a new concept of space.

'Wheelbot', cornerstone for realizing future scenario

Hankook Tire developed the ‘wheelbot’ as the first step towards realizing the urban reshaping project. A ‘wheelbot’ is literally a mobility system using robotics. Hankook Tire increased its reality of the future scenario project and carried out more sophisticated technology research by making a system which can actually be driven and tested.

Whereas the existing wheel-type moving unit moved only within a certain radius with the front and rear as the main axis, the wheelbot can freely move 360 degrees regardless of the space where it is located. With this feature, it is possible for the wheelbot to move in any direction not only on the road, but also inside a building or anywhere without a road. In addition, the existing wheel-type transportation had limits in space due to its structure of wheels, while a platform which combines a wheelbot with a Pod (A streamlined space which can be separated from transportation such as airplane and vessel) is integrated with a building to create new space; usability and expandability of the wheelbot are limitless.

On September 30, 2022, Hankook Tire held an offline event ‘Design Innovation Day’ to declare its future mobility vision. The company also offered experience space where consumers could drive the wheelbot by themselves. It allowed them to check the actual driving and operation method with a driving body which is capable of semi-autonomous driving and remote control.

  • Wheelbot's internal structure model exhibited at Design Innovation Day site

Approaching to realization with technology companies
'Design Innovation Alliance'

The ‘Design Innovation Alliance’ is a collaboration project with technology companies to promote more accurate R&D on the ‘wheelbot’ design. It is the process of finally realizing a future scenario project which has been conducted for a long time. Hankook Tire found partners who would connect its ‘Future Scenario Project’ and the ‘Realization Project’ to provide technical assistance in making the virtual scenario a reality. And it is researching the parts that can be implemented with its current technology to develop the actual output.

Joint venture with technology companies ‘Calman Tech’ and ‘Mobiltech’

This realization process was carried out in collaboration with robotics partner 'Calman Tech' and 3D spatial information service provider 'Mobiltech.' Calman Tech provided direct technology to build the wheelbot. The company is a technology partner which is engaged in R&D of robots focusing on 'Action' among the robot development process: 'Cognition' (Sensing), 'Decision' (Autonomous driving), and 'Action' (Driving). It is aimed to build a robot mobility platform which allows free movement in 360 degrees, and to create a new paradigm in the future mobility environment.

In addition, 'Mobiltech' produces Replica City, a digital twin 3D map. The technology will have a positive impact on the autonomous driving system. While a 2D map requires interpretation to receive information, the 3D map is much more intuitive and specific as it provides the actual look. Such data is essential in its future scenario project as mobility moves away from the road infrastructure to join or decouple from buildings.

Hankook Tire will continue its journey to find a new value so that it may play an essential role in the future mobility. It is expected to see a vision of the future smart city which will be built from the ‘Design Innovation.’