Hyundai has unveiled a walking car concept at CES, the consumer electronics show being held in Las Vegas, that can help first responders save lives after a natural disaster be it a forest fire, earthquake, hurricane or flood.
The concept vehicle dubbed Elevate, Hyundai said, is the first Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (or UMV) that blends technology found in electric cars and robots, enabling it to traverse terrain that is beyond what most off-road vehicles are able to achieve.
“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,” John Suh, Hyundai vice president and head of Hyundai CRADLE said in a press release announcing the concept vehicle. “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.”
According to Hyundai, the Elevate concept is based on a modular platform that enables it to switch out different bodies for specific situations. What's more, the robotic leg architecture gives Elevate five degrees of freedom. Enhanced technology also enables it to move in any direction. It is also able to fold up the legs to enable Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle on the road — but it can also climb a 5-foot wall, step over a 5-foot gap and walk over diverse terrain.
“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,” said David Byron, design manager, Sundberg-Ferar in the same press release. “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.” Hyundai has been working with Sundberg-Ferar on the Elevate concept for close to three years.
Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences) is the corporate ventures and open innovation arm of Hyundai Motor Company. The unit partners and invests in global startups to accelerate the development of advance future automotive technologies.