Hyundai sees Walking Car prototype as ideal disaster relief vehicle

The desin is modular so siffent cabins could be mounted on the chassis

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).

Hyundai has shown off a small model of a vehicle it says can activate robotic legs to walk at 3mph (5km/h) over rough terrain.

Hyundai said at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that the "Elevate" concept vehicle was designed with first responders in mind, to allow them to navigate tricky terrain after an accident or natural disaster.

"This technology goes well beyond emergency situations". The robotic leg architecture features five degrees of freedom plus wheel hub propulsion motors and is enabled by the "latest in electric actuator technology".

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. 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.

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Created to address the need for rapid and efficient disaster assistance, the Hyundai Elevate is built on a modular EV platform that can switch between different bodies for specific situations. A scale model robot showed the vehicle's two walking gaits - mammalian and reptilian - which would allow it to move in any direction. This allows Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle.

Due to its unique mechanism, Elevate can climb a 1.5-meter wall, step over a 1.5-meter gap, walk over diverse terrain and achieve a 4.5-meter wide track width, while keeping its body and passengers fully level.

"By combining the power of robotics with Hyundai's latest EV technology, Elevate has the ability to take people where no vehicle has been before, and redefine our perception of vehicular freedom", said David Byron, design manager, Sundberg-Ferar.

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. "The possibilities are limitless".

It could also be used in more conventional, urban situations, designer David Byron of Sundberg-Ferar consultancy told Reuters at a presentation unveiling the concept. Hyundai hasn't released any information about the powertrain or production plans just yet, but we definitely believe that a concept like this makes a lot of sense.

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