The car with LEGS: Hyundai unveils Elevate that can ‘go anywhere’

While many cars claim to be the ultimate off roader, Hyundai had revealed a radical new take – a car with legs that can simply walk over terrain it struggles to drive over.

The firm revealed its Elevate concept at CES in Las Vegas, showing off vehicles aimed at first responders as well as New York yellow taxis.

The design, which resembles the All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT) walkers found in the Star Wars universe, combines a traditional wheel with a leg the unfolds for dangerous terrain. 

It can even climb stairs to pick up passengers in a wheelchair, allowing them to simply roll in.

  

Hyundai says first responders are likely to be the first customers for the vehicle.

‘When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field,’ said John Suh of the firm. 

‘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,’ said John Suh, Vice President and Head of Hyundai CRADLE.

‘This technology goes well beyond emergency situations. 

‘People living with disabilities worldwide that don’t have access to an ADA ramp could hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate that could walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow their wheelchair to roll right in. 

‘The possibilities are limitless.’

Elevate is the first Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), blending technology found in electric cars and robots, which allows it to traverse terrain beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicle, Hyundai says.

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 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.

‘By combining the power of robotics with Hyundai’s latest EV technology, Elevate has the ability to take people where no car has been before, and redefine our perception of vehicular freedom,’ said David Byron, design manager, Sundberg-Ferar. 

‘Imagine a car 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.’ 

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