Non-pneumatic-tyres eliminate punctures, while smart tyres have monitoring sensors. Both are being developed in Colmar-Berg.

Airless tyres are already available on the market, and R&D has partly taken place in Luxembourg, at a well-known tyre manufacturer located in Colmar-Berg. Punctures will be a thing of the past.

The new tyres are considered "maintenance free" and can do up to 3 times as much mileage before needing replacement. Like current LGV tyres, they can also be re-treaded, even further increasing their lifespan. Additionally, they are largely recyclable thanks to their build, a vast improvement over existing tyres which often end up being burned.

A complex structure keeps the rubber tyre in shape while distributing the weight of the vehicle throughout the tyre, at the same time providing the necessary grip on uneven surfaces. The feel for the driver should be no different to traditional tyres.

However, while there has been considerable progress, we are not quite there yet. The tyre presented in Colmar-Berg is merely a prototype. A market-ready model is expected in around 10 years. For now, the NPT has already found limited use, for instance at local delivery startup Starship, which uses small autonomous robots.

In parallel, the traditional air-holding tyre is inevitablty becoming smarter, with sensors monitoring their pressure and tread to keep the driver updated on their life cycle, or so they can adapt their driving style if necessary. This will become more imprtant with self-driving cars.

Other monitored data includes tyre temperature or road surface, whether the car has winter or summer tyres and the surface contact. All this can lead to safer driving, but can also help transport and logistics companies maintain their fleet.