HYUNDAI has paraded into this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with a walking car concept, dubbed Elevate, aimed at navigating rough terrain for emergency first responders and mobility for people living with disabilities.
Though Hyundai’s first Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) is still equipped with wheels at each corner, the rollers are fitted to four robotic legs that allow the Elevate to drive, walk or climb over most surfaces.
Developed for nearly three years by Hyundai’s Cradle division, the brand’s Centre for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences, the Elevate is built on a modular electric vehicle (EV) platform that allows components, such as its body shape and legs, to be swapped out.
With the Elevate’s legs stowed, power to joints is disconnected to maximise battery efficiency and will allow the walking car concept to function like most vehicle’s on the road.
However, with the legs deployed, the Elevate “can climb a five-foot (152cm) wall, step over a five-foot gap, walk over diverse terrain and achieve a 15-foot (457cm) wide track width, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level”, according to Hyundai.
One such use for the Elevate, Hyundai imagines, is to ferry search-and-rescue supplies and staff to areas affected by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and fire, where traditional emergency services vehicles may not be able to navigate.
Hyundai Cradle head and vice-president John Suh said, however, the application of the Elevate concept could extend further than just emergency situations.
“People living with disabilities worldwide that don’t have access to an ADA ramp could hail and autonomous Hyundai Elevate that could walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow their wheelchair to roll right in,” he said. “The possibilities are endless.”