South Korean car maker Hyundai has unveiled its walking concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Elevate is an electric car with robotic legs, which can be used both to drive and to walk.
The car is the first Ultimate Mobility Vehicle, intended 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.
Hyundai claims that vehicles based on the concept could one day be used to save lives in response to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, forest fires or floods.
In reptilian walking mode, the legs are positioned outwards either side of the body
"When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field," said John Suh, Hyundai vice president.
"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."
According to Hyundai, Elevate has traditional wheels on four corners, which are connected to the car by way of mechanical, moveable legs.
The legs have multiple axes of articulation, providing the car with the capability to navigate through difficult terrain. When the legs remain folded, Elevate resembles a normal car. But, when the legs are unfolded, the car rises to its full height and appears like a smart, if somewhat scary vehicle.
The two walking modes enable the car to climb walls, walk over uneven terrain, step over huge gaps, and clamber over crumbled concrete
The robotic legs, with five degrees of freedom, also make the vehicle capable of both mammalian- and reptilian-style walking gaits. In reptilian walking mode, the legs are positioned outwards either side of the body. In mammalian mode, the legs point out in front and behind the body.
These two walking modes enable the car to climb walls, walk over uneven terrain, step over huge gaps, and clamber over crumbled concrete. According to Hyundai, Elevate can climb even a five-foot high wall.
This vehicle is also able to drive at high speeds. The propulsion comes from four electric motors mounted inside each wheel hub. The body of the car is attached to an electric "skateboard" platform, which gives it a little extra flexibility, with regard to removing or swapping out the body depending on the needs of the moment.
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