Hyundai has revealed a ‘walking’ concept vehicle at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Dubbed “Elevate”, the so-called “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle”, or “UMV” for short, blends technology found in electric cars and robots, and has been developed by the Korean carmaker in collaboration with American product design consultancy, Sundberg-Ferar.
Envisaged primarily as an emergency responder vehicle, and based on a modular EV platform with the capability to switch out different bodies for specific situations, it features wheels with robotic legs that allow users to drive, walk or even climb over the most treacherous terrain.
Hyundai claims the design is capable of both “mammalian and reptilian” walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction. The legs also fold up into a stowed drive-mode, which allows the vehicle to drive at motorway speeds just like a regular car.
“When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field. They have to go the rest of the way by foot. Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete,” explains John Suh (pictured above), boss of Hyundai’s technology arm, CRADLE. “This technology goes well beyond emergency situations. People living with disabilities worldwide that don’t have access to an ADA ramp could hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate that could walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow their wheelchair to roll right in. The possibilities are limitless.”
“By combining the power of robotics with Hyundai’s latest EV technology, Elevate has the ability to take people where no car has been before, and redefine our perception of vehicular freedom,” adds David Byron, design manager at Sundberg-Ferar. “Imagine a car stranded in a snow ditch just 10 feet off the highway being able to walk or climb over the treacherous terrain, back to the road potentially saving its injured passengers – this is the future of vehicular mobility.”