Non-Pneumatic Tire system: Run-flat wheels for the Battlefield

If you've been a passenger in a luxury car that uses run-flat tires recently, and you suffer from a bad back, you might know just how uncomfortable the puncture-resistent wheels can be.  Move instead to a battlefield, however, and the idea of tires that can resist gunshots, impromptu stingers and other debris becomes far more attractive; that's the concept behind Resilient Technologies' non-pneumatic tire (NPT) system, a honeycomb of unspecified polymers that, even with 30-percent of the material missing, can still be safely driven on.

The wheels are one of a number of projects prompted by US government sponsorship; in this case, Resilient will get $18m of Pentagon money over four-years.  Unlike solid rubber tires there's more flexibility, better load support and less heat produced during driving; the gaps also allow shrapnel to pass through, rather than get lodged in – or hack chunks out of – the tire.

Currently at the prototype stage and in trials on a Wausau-based National Guard Humvee, the NPTs are being fast-tracked to the battlefield as soon as Resilient and the Army are convinced they're safe.  Unfortunately it may be ten years or more before we see consumer versions.

[via Crave]