This, as the automaker points out, makes the concept well suited to first responders in emergency situations. As a taxi, for example, Elevate could transport a person in a wheelchair easily.
Hyundai previewed an idea it has for a giant "walking" auto with a very small model of it at CES in Las Vegas.
The auto is the first Ultimate Mobility Vehicle, meant to blend technology found in robots and electric cars, allowing it to traverse terrain that even the most capable off-road vehicles are unable to navigate. Each leg is afforded five degrees of freedom, while each wheel is packed with its own motor enabling the UMV to maintain its progress even is one or two wheels can't get traction.
Hyundai says that the Elevate can drive at highway speeds like a conventional auto.
When the going gets especially treacherous, omnidirectional mobility combines both walking gaits for even more flexibility. But no other can climb a five foot wall, step over a five foot gap, walk over diverse terrain, and achieve a 15 foot wide track width, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level.
Hyundai says it showcases technology that will be able to "take people where no vehicle has been before".
But while Hyundai's concept is moving forward, it's unlikely to be appearing at a local dealership any time soon.
David Byron, design manager at Sundberg-Ferar - the "innovation studio" that helped Hyundai design the thing - said: "Imagine a auto 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".
The Hyundai Elevate has been designed with Sundberg-Ferar, located in Metro Detroit, a product innovation studio specializing in innovation strategy, design research, industrial design, user interface, engineering and prototyping. Suh said people living with disabilities that don't have access to an ADA ramp could hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate that could walk up straight to their front door. "The possibilities are limitless". "What if a auto designed with robotics could save lives in disasters", said Hyundai's Innovation Head, John Suh.
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