Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Hyundai unveils walking concept vehicle Elevate at CES 2019

Hyundai unveils walking concept vehicle Elevate at CES 2019

Hyundai at CES 2019 is showcasing what it describes as the first vehicle with movable legs, blending its expertise in EVs with advanced robotics to create an ultimate mobility vehicle (UMV). The legs, which can lock in any position, even fold up under the body, so on roads the Elevate can drive along on its wheels like a normal auto. 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.

And the Japanese motoring company showed how the vehicle could be used in disaster zones to save lives.

"When a tsunami or natural disaster hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field". Elevate is designed with four mechanical legs with wheels for feet and can roll along on extended legs or retract them to be driven like a auto. "Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete", explains John Suh, Hyundai vice president and head of Hyundai Cradle.

Hyundai has unveiled a vehicle that can walk, a development that it hopes will save lives in disaster zones.

Hyundai Elevate concept
Innovative suspension technology could help in adverse conditions

The legs have multiple axes of articulation, providing the auto with the capability to navigate through hard terrain. But, when the legs are unfolded, the auto rises to its full height and appears like a smart, if somewhat scary vehicle. The leg architecture has "five degrees of freedom", according to Hyundai, as well as hub propulsion motors and actuators. In reptilian walking mode, the legs are positioned outwards either side of the body.

Byron demonstrated on a prototype how the chassis of the vehicle would detach from the wheeled legs, allowing different vehicle bodies to be used for distinct purposes.

These two walking modes enable the vehicle to climb walls, walk over uneven terrain, step over huge gaps, and clamber over crumbled concrete.

Hyundai has been working on the concept with industrial design consultancy Sundberg-Ferar for three years. This allows the Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle. Elevate is, in fact, a platform which can use a variety of bodies depending on its intended objective.

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