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Hyundai’s Electric Walking Car Concept Looks Straight Out Of ‘Star Wars’
By Izza Sofia, 09 Jan 2019
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas, carmaker Hyundai unveiled its car concept featuring robotic legs that might remind you of Star Wars’ ‘Heavy Assault Walker’, shown directly below.
The ‘Elevate’ electric automobile has been designed with robotic limbs that can be extended beyond driving. This helps emergency workers travel across natural disaster zones that usually have harsh terrains.
“Any first responder will tell you that the first 72 hours following a natural disaster are the most crucial to saving lives,” explained Hyundai. “However, often times due to the nature of the disaster (forest fire, earthquake, hurricane, or flood), it can be difficult for search-and-rescue and humanitarian aid missions to reach and get immediate help to those in need.”
This concept car has been created to be faster, more efficient and resilient compared to ordinary off-road vehicles. It has an interchangeable body that can cater to different environments and situations. Its four extendable robotic legs allow the vehicle to drive, walk or climb in any direction across various landscapes, aided by torsional control at the end of each limb.
The design relies heavily on Hyundai’s latest electric actuator technology, which enables six independent aspects of motion for each robotic leg: vertical hip, horizontal hip, knee, ankle, steering and wheel.
The wheels are powered by a hub propulsion motor and allows the vehicle to cross difficult landscapes, which are inaccessible to most cars. The automobile also has an “active suspension” mode to keep the car body level, even when its legs are traveling over uneven terrain.
Head of Hyundai’s tech center John Suh said, “When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field. They have to go the rest of the way by foot.”
“‘Elevate’ can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete,” he continued. “This technology goes well beyond emergency situations.” The legs of the car can also be folded up and stashed away to enter normal driving mode. The car uses an integrated suspension system, which maximizes battery efficiency and allows it to drive on highways.
“By combining the power of robotics with Hyundai’s latest electronic technology, ‘Elevate’ has the ability to take people where no car has been before, and redefine our perception of vehicular freedom,” said David Byron, a design manager at Sundberg-Ferar. “Imagine a car 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.”
[via Hyundai, images via Hyundai]
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