Hyundai has come up with a solution to get rid of traditional snow chains. It's called a shape memory alloy snow chain and it replicates the functionality of traditional snow chains at the touch of a button. How does it work? The newly developed wheel and tire assembly has built-in radial grooves at regular intervals. There are shape memory alloys inserted into these channels, making the assembly look like a pizza.

When an electrical signal is received, the shape memory alloy modules protrude to behave like a snow chain. The elements sticking out of the rubber form a "J" shape to improve grip on a slippery surface during wintertime. When not in use, the shape memory alloy resides within the wheel in the shape of an "L" that doesn’t touch the road surface.

Inevitably, the tire will be worn down to the point where those alloys will always make contact with the road surface. That's when the tire will have to be replaced. Hyundai mentions it has applied for a patent at home in South Korea as well as in United States. Meanwhile, it already has plans to further develop the technology. If everything goes according to plan, Hyundai and Kia will consider putting shape memory alloy snow chains into mass production.

But one question remains: How much would it cost? And now just how expensive the tire itself would be, but also how much it would cost to replace considering the shape memory alloy starts near the center of the wheel? All of that remains to be seen.

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