Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Hyundai designs 4-legged walking auto that could help during natural disasters

Image    Elevate can cover terrain that would defeat even the toughest SUVs Image Elevate can cover terrain that would defeat even the toughest SUVs
Priscilla Morrison | 08 January, 2019, 15:57

It combines the technology found in electric cars and robots, allowing it to travel across hard terrain, debris, stairs and places typical off-road vehicles can't reach.

"When a tsunami or quake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field", said John Suh, Vice-President and Head of Hyundai CRADLE. Each leg is afforded five degrees of freedom, while each wheel is packed with its own motor enabling the UMV to maintain its progress even is one or two wheels can't get traction.

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

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.

Of course, the legs can also be retracted in what Hyundai calls a "stowed-drive" mode, and it will take to the highway like any other wheeled vehicle. This allows the Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle.

Elevate can climb a five-foot (1.52-meter) wall, step over a five-foot gap, walk over diverse terrain, and achieve a 15-foot (4.57-m) wide track width.

More news: India force rare Australia follow-on in Sydney Test

We've been intrigued by Hyundai's "walking car" concept ever since the automaker teased it last week.

"Imagine a auto 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".

Prof David Bailey, from Aston Business School, said: "Often auto companies bring out lots of concepts which may or may not make it into production but it's great to think in new ways about mobility".

"When a tsunami or natural disaster hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field".

It's not just for emergencies, though; if Elevate could be driven autonomously, it could improve the lives of wheelchair users without access to a stair ramp, climbing to their front door so they can manoeuvre their chair straight in. 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. "The possibilities are limitless".

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