Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Hyundai sees Walking Car prototype as flawless disaster relief vehicle

Hyundai sees Walking Car prototype as flawless disaster relief vehicle

Last week Hyundai released some teaser material of its walking Elevate concept, created to negotiate "treacherous" areas a conventional wheeled vehicle would struggle to get ahead.

Hyundai calls the Elevate EV the world's first vehicle with moveable legs. This gives the Elevate omni-directional mobility capabilities and Hyundai claims that it can tackle all terrains seamlessly while adapting to varied degrees of difficulty on the fly.

When in "drive-mode" with the "legs" automatically folded out of the way, the Elevate can cruise at highway speeds, just like a normal vehicle.

It looks straight out of Star Wars or could be mistaken for a Transformer, but Hyundai's "walking car" concept, unveiled at CES 2019, could be the future of disaster assistance and emergency response. Elevate is designed with four mechanical legs with wheels for feet and can roll along on extended legs or retract them to be driven like a auto. The design is uniquely capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, as shown in the video. This allows the Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle.

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Due to its unique mechanism, Elevate can climb a 1.5-meter wall, step over a 1.5-meter gap, walk over diverse terrain and achieve a 4.5-meter wide track width, while keeping its body and passengers fully level. Giving an insight about possible Elevate applications Byron said "Imagine a vehicle 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".

In addition to unveiling its latest concept auto, Hyundai also presented its future mobility road map at CES 2019. "Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete", said John Suh, vice president and head of Hyundai Cradle, the firm's corporate venturing and open innovation business.

If someone could not access a building without a ramp, for example, the Elevate could walk across, level itself and allow the wheelchair to enter before moving it into the entrance.

Hyundai has been working on the concept with industrial design consultancy Sundberg-Ferar for three years. "The possibilities are limitless".

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