The idea of ​​snow chains built into the wheel and tire of a car is presented by the engineers of the Hyundai and Kia car companies as a significant facilitation of operation in winter. The technology uses shape memory alloy modules that are built into the inside of a wheel with a tire. When needed (for example, when driving mode is activated on snow), the modules slide out electrically and perform the function of classic chains.

Motorists will thus completely eliminate the tedious fitting and subsequent dismantling of snow chains. In short, you come to a snowy road, press the button and it’s done in a moment.

“This innovation will hopefully one day appear on Kia and Hyundai vehicles. It demonstrates our commitment to turn advanced technologies into practical solutions that benefit customers,” commented Joon Mo Park, head of the chassis advanced technology development team.

Snow chains built inside the wheel.Video: Kia/Hyundai

The whole thing looks like a classic wheel, but with the addition of radial grooves at regular intervals (actually it looks quite similar to when you cut a tasty pizza). Individual modules made of alloy with shape memory are built into the given grooves.

During normal driving, the alloy is hidden inside the wheel and therefore does not come into contact with the road. And if by chance the sample wears down to the surface of the modules, the car will notify you in time and prompt you to change the tires.

Photo: Škoda Auto

Will motorists get rid of the hassle of putting on traditional snow chains?

Patent applications filed in South Korea and the United States prove that Korean brands are serious about it. The plan is to further develop the technology, including durability and functionality tests. Subsequently, the creators want to pass homologation tests in order to serially produce tires.