Currently, it’s unimaginable, but Hyundai thinks future cars could be capable of walking; that’s right, walking. On legs. Like a dog or a horse. It’s insane, but that’s exactly what the Hyundai Elevate concept vehicle does.
Hyundai calls the Elevate the first Ultimate Mobility Vehicle or UMV. It blends technology found in electric cars and robots which allows it to go through terrain beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicle.
The Elevate concept is based on a modular EV platform with the capability to switch out different bodies for specific situations.
The robotic leg architecture has five degrees of freedom plus wheel hub propulsion motors and is enabled by the latest in electric actuator technology. This design is uniquely capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction. The legs also fold up into a stowed drive-mode, where power to the joints is cut, and the use of an integrated passive suspension system maximizes battery efficiency. This allows Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle.
But no other vehicle can climb a five-foot wall, step over a five-foot gap, walk over diverse terrain, and achieve a 15-foot-wide track width, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level. Further, the combination of wheeled motion with articulating legs provides a new paradigm of mobility by enabling faster walking speeds, unique dynamic driving postures, and torsional control at the end of each leg.
Hyundai thinks that vehicles such as the Elevate will become crucial as a first responder vehicle. During the first 72 hours, it can go to difficult-to-reach places and can immediately facilitate in the search-and-rescue and any humanitarian aid efforts.
Admittedly, the Elevate is currently a far-fetched idea, but the concept behind it is truly fascinating, if a bit creepy. Check it out in action below.