At the ongoing 52nd Consumer Electronics Show, South Korean car maker Hyundai on Monday unveiled a concept car which can walk and crawl with robotic legs. The concept Hyundai Elevate is claimed to be the first ever car with moveable legs. It incorporates technologies of electric vehicles and robotics to create combination vehicle that can drive, walk and even climb across some of the most rugged terrain.
Hyundai says that the Elevate can climb a five-foot wall and step over a five-foot gap while keeping its body and passengers completely level. For example, an Elevate stuck in snow on a roadside could get up and walk back to lanes of traffic.
“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,” said John Suh, Vice President and Head of Hyundai’s Cradle robotics research division. “Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete.”
Hyundai showed off its Elevate project as “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle” that is based on a modular EV platform with the capability to switch out different bodies for specific situations.
It is designed with four mechanical legs with wheels for feet. The company showcased a small-scale model shown at the CES 2019. Hyundai claims that the vehicle can roll along on extended legs or retract them to be driven like a car. These extended legs could also be used to climb or crawl to save lives in disasters. “What if a car designed with robotics could save lives in disasters,” added Suh.