Auto with legs: Hyundai Elevate concept can walk, climb

Hyundai Elevate Walking Car Concept

Yes, that's exactly what Hyundai has proposed with its Elevate concept unveiled Tuesday at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Officially, Hyundai says this first-ever vehicle with moveable legs would be ideal for disaster relief, the legs not only providing height and ground clearance but suspension as well, making it the first Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV).

What's more, the concept, which was developed in conjunction with Sundberg-Ferar, is based around a modular EV platform that allows different bodies to be switched and swopped when needed. Labelled as an Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), the Elevate combines technology found in electric cars and robots, which allows it to traverse terrain beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicles.

Its body can be changed and entered from all four sides, its robotic legs have five degrees of freedom and wheel hub propulsion motors.

This design, says Hyundai, is "uniquely capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits", essentially allowing it to move in any direction.

Elevate is Hyundai's first-ever vehicle with four moveable legs that give the auto an insect-like look.

John Suh, vice president and head of Hyundai CRADLE, which developed the concept, said: "When a tsunami or quake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field".

When the auto is in drive mode, the legs are folded up and power to the joints is cut to extend battery life.

The company believes that the technology could be used in non-emergency situations as well, particularly helping those with disabilities. Cradle Hyundai Motor's corporate venturing and open innovation business, which partners and invests extensively in prominent global startups to accelerate the development of advanced future automotive technologies.

According to Hyundai, the vehicle can can climb a 1.5 metre wall, step over a 1.5m gap, walk over diverse terrain, and achieve a 4.6m wide track width, while keeping the occupants level.

Further, the combination of wheeled motion with articulating legs equips the Elevate with faster walking speeds, dynamic driving postures and torsional control at the end of each leg. "The possibilities are limitless".

Hyundai has been working on the concept with industrial design consultancy Sundberg-Ferar for three years. Hyundai has not mentioned any details on the powertrain neither has disclosed any plans of bringing the Elevate concept into reality.

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