Studded tires may make it easier to drive on ice, but those same studs will quickly wear down when used on dry asphalt – plus, they'll create a very rough, noisy ride. The problem is, most winter drivers encounter both types of road conditions, often even on the same trip. That's why Nokian has created a snow tire with retractable studs.
Currently just a demo project, the tire is a variation on the existing Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV studded winter tire. Instead of that tire's permanently-deployed studs, however, the new one features studs with a flat housing that remains in place, from within which a hard metal pin can be raised or lowered.
The idea is that drivers could activate the studs on all four wheels from within the vehicle when approaching icy patches, simply by pressing a button. When conditions improved, they could withdraw them again.
Although there's no hard word on commercial availability, Nokian has stated that "The unique stud concept may indeed become a reality one day." The tires can be seen in action in the video below.