At Consumer Electronics Show gadget extravaganza, the South Korean carmaker Hyundai gave a glimpse of the vehicle with robotic legs that will enable it to walk or crawl over treacherous terrain. “What if a car designed with robotics could save lives in disasters,” said Hyundai executive John Suh to AFP. “The need for search and rescue, and humanitarian aid is growing around the world.”
The “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle” that combines technology from electric cars with robotics was showcased at CES 2019. According to the automobile giant, the elevate is designed with four mechanical legs with wheels for feet. Elevate vehicles can roll along on extended legs or retract them to be driven like a car.
Extended legs could also be used to climb or crawl while keeping the passenger compartment level, according to David Byron of Sundberg-Ferar, an industrial design consultancy, which is working with Hyundai on the project.
“This design is uniquely capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction,” Hyundai said in a release. Hyundai has been working on the walking car for three years, according to the company.
A scaled-down model of Elevate along with a video of how it would perform was displayed at the CES press event.
“This technology goes well beyond emergency situations — people living with disabilities could hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate that could walk up to their front door, the level itself, and allow their wheelchair to roll right in,” Mr. Suh said.
(with agency inputs)