Since tires carry out many functions and many of them have tradeoffs, it is important to find the combination of design variables that satisfy well-balanced performance in conceptual design stage. To find a good design of tires is to solve the multi-objective design problems, i.e., inverse problems. However, due to the lack of suitable solution techniques, such problems are converted into a single-objective optimization problem before being solved. Therefore, it is difficult to find the Pareto solutions of multi-objective design problems of tires. Recently, multi-objective evolutionary algorithms have become popular in many fields to find the Pareto solutions. In this paper, we propose a design procedure to solve multi-objective design problems as the comprehensive solver of inverse problems. At first, a multi-objective genetic algorithm (MOGA) is employed to find the Pareto solutions of tire performance, which are in multi-dimensional space of objective functions. Response surface method is also used to evaluate objective functions in the optimization process and can reduce CPU time dramatically. In addition, a self-organizing map (SOM) proposed by Kohonen is used to map Pareto solutions from high-dimensional objective space onto two-dimensional space. Using SOM, design engineers see easily the Pareto solutions of tire performance and can find suitable design plans. The SOM can be considered as an inverse function that defines the relation between Pareto solutions and design variables. To demonstrate the procedure, tire tread design is conducted. The objective of design is to improve uneven wear and wear life for both the front tire and the rear tire of a passenger car. Wear performance is evaluated by finite element analysis (FEA). Response surface is obtained by the design of experiments and FEA. Using both MOGA and SOM, we obtain a map of Pareto solutions. We can find suitable design plans that satisfy well-balanced performance on the map called “multi-performance map.” It helps tire design engineers to make their decision in conceptual design stage.

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