All about the Hyundai Walking Car Concept
Hyundai’s walking car Elevate was first revealed at CES 2019 as a smart mobility solution for traversing tough terrains. The concept car uses four robotic legs to climb and walk, opening up various real-life applications.
The concept made headlines again in February 2021, when Hyundai revealed a walking robot, TIGER X-1. This shows Hyundai’s dedication to make the concept a reality. It is even expected that beta prototypes will be ready for testing as early as 2023.
Let’s explore some of the concept’s design features and applications.
A car with robotic legs may seem hypothetical at first, but with current progress, we can expect a working prototype very soon. It all began with Hyundai walking car Elevate, as the company wishes to explore vehicular mobility. The project Elevate goes beyond standard vehicles on wheels as it can walk, climb and traverse terrains.
The design is based on Hyundai’s electric actuator technology that allows the robotic leg to offer six degrees of freedom, including horizontal hip, vertical hip, knee, ankle, steering and wheel.
The modular chassis architecture allows interchangeable car bodies depending on the application. Hence you can install a body with flexible cabin space and seats to tackle the situation.
Hyundai walking car comes with various drive modes to suit the user needs and requirements, including:
- Passive Suspension – the car will drive like a regular vehicle, making it a standard off-road car
- Active Suspension – the robotic legs are extended to drive over uneven terrains while keeping the body at a level
The walking mode is where things get interesting. To pass through some of the inaccessible terrains, you can depend on the combination of two walking modes:
- Reptilian mode – the robotic legs are extended outward from sideways just like a lizard
- Mammalian mode – the legs are extended from front and rear, to walk like a 4 legged mammal
Both modes allow the car to have omnidirectional mobility to adapt to different terrain types. The car has a 66 kWh battery capacity. Each leg is outfitted with geared electric motors to lock positions when needed.
The robotic legs are capable of covering a five-foot gap at each step and can even scale a five-foot wall. However, such predictions are yet to be seen. Even in a hypothetical scenario, such capabilities look unreal but looking at the current technological trend, implementation of such abilities is not impossible.
The applications of Hyundai walking cars are the prime motivators for the company’s investment in the project. The freedom of mobility means the walking car can access areas not possible by standard means.
Areas affected by natural disasters like earthquakes and landslides can disrupt roads and make the region inaccessible to the rescue teams. The Elevate is capable of scaling such paths to reach and rescue people in need of help easily.
Since the robotic legs can climb stairs, disabled people with wheelchairs will have an easier route of transport. Such technology has also led Hyundai to invest in wearable exoskeleton suits that can help people with spinal or muscle injuries to walk again.
TIGER X-1 is like a smaller version of Elevate and can be employed for delivery of goods and aid to inaccessible regions. The autonomous robot can become integral in space exploration when traversing Mars or the moon. Think of it as an all planet robot explorer.
Elevate and TIGER X-1
TIGER X-1 stands for Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot. The experimental robot has characteristics similar to the walking car Elevate. Both vehicles can transform from a four-wheel drive to a four-legged walking machine and can transverse difficult terrain.
Elevate requires a driving crew and can carry passengers. Tiger is an autonomous vehicle and does not require any crew. Hence, it is more ideal for cargo and goods transportation. Evidently, the prototype of Tiger is about the size of a suitcase and can be easily deployed on the fields via quadcopter.
As TIGER is an autonomous robot and Elevate is a vehicle, this highlights Hyundai’s aim to diversify its portfolio in technological developments. The combination of wheels and legs maximises the exploration capabilities. There is no doubt, the success of such projects will open up newer ways for transportation.
While Hyundai is working towards better mobility solutions, explore used Hyundai cars for sale in the UAE to test out their current on-road technology.
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Cover Credits: Hyundai Website