Wheels are cool, but have you seen legs?
At the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show, Korean automotive marque Hyundai has unveiled a new concept that aims to challenge convention when it comes to vehicular mobility. It’s called the ‘Elevate’ concept and this is (to the memory of this writer at least) the first time a car’s got legs. Like proper legs, that can move around and stuff. Weird, right?
“When a tsunami earthquake hits, current rescue vehicle 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. This technology goes well beyond emergency situations though. People living with disabilities worldwide that don’t have access to an ADA ramp could hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate that could walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow their wheelchair to roll right in. The possibilities are limitless.” — John Suh, Vice President, Hyundai Cradle
It is essentially a modular EV platform that allows the body & chassis to separate, meaning the upper half is customisable based on intended usage. The robotic leg architecture on the other hand offers more flexibility & freedom for the car to go where others could not – like over a 5ft wall or gap perhaps, or to ‘walk’ over diverse terrain. This is what Hyundai says Elevate is for.
Furthermore, the wheels can be stowed up and power to the ‘joints’ can be cut, allowing the Elevate to be driven on a motorway like a regular car. So it’s not all walking & stomping around like an AT-AT from Star Wars. Speaking of walking, this thing is able to ‘walk’ in both mammalian & reptilian style gaits for omnidirectional motion, so it’s not just wheels & stilts either.
Amazingly, Elevate wasn’t some weird idea dreamt up one night by some dude in Hyundai that ‘medicated’ a bit too much one evening. Elevate is the result of three years of work between Hyundai’s Cradle division (where they explore outlandish ideas) and Sundberg-Ferar, a product innovation studio that takes outlandish ideas and makes them into a reality.
Want one? Neither do we.