A car with the ability to climb walls and step over holes using a set of robotic legs could transform the way rescue teams operate in disaster zones.
With millions of people from the world every year needing humanitarian assistance following natural disasters, the “Elevate” is a new concept vehicle that has been designed to cover terrain beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicle.
Elevate can be driven by first responders to locations like a traditional electric car – but when the terrain gets tough, it can use its “highly dexterous” robotic legs to move in any direction.
It can climb a 5-foot wall, step over a 5-foot gap, walk at 3 mph over tricky terrain, and achieve a 15-foot-wide wheelbase, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level.
The legs, which can ‘walk’ like a mammal or reptile, also fold up into a stowed drive-mode, in which it cuts off power to the joints and uses an integrated passive suspension system to maximize battery efficiency.
Since Hyundai unveiled the design for the car earlier this week, the company says that Elevate will not just benefit people in disaster zones, either – disabled people who don’t have access to a ramp outside their house could hail an Elevate taxi to walk up to their front door, level itself out, and allow the wheelchair to roll inside the home.
Elevate is part of Hyundai’s Centre for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences (CRADLE), which aims to enhance transportation on and off the road.
“When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field,” said John Suh, vice president and head of Hyundai Cradle. “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.”
Elevate has been dubbed the world’s first ‘Ultimate Mobility Vehicle’ and is being revealed in concept form at this week’s Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In a statement, the manufacturer added: “At CES 2019, Hyundai Cradle is presenting a totally new vehicle concept that combines the power of robotics and EV technology to take people where no vehicle has been before.
“The quadrupedal Hyundai Elevate will redefine the boundaries and perceptions of vehicular mobility. Its four highly dexterous and movable legs can be utilized in ways beyond the imagination to allow Hyundai’s inception of a new vehicle category – The Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV).”
The manufacturer is also unveiling an electric concept car which can autonomously drive to an empty parking space to be charged up.
(WATCH the concept video below)
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