Hyundai's 'walking car' could be the ambulance of the future

Hyundai's 'walking car' could be the ambulance of the future

We are talking about the Hyundai Elevate concept showcased at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show 2019.

Earlier this week, Hyundai had released a teaser image of the Elevate electric rescue vehicle concept or in Hyundai speak, the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV). After all, for a vehicle to walk and climb it needs legs of some kind, but to power the wheels you need an axle, which would render those legs useless.

When a tsunami or quake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field. "Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete", Suh said.

The company believes that the technology could be used in non-emergency situations as well, particularly helping those with disabilities.

The vehicle's four robotic legs each have five "joints" allowing for a different mode of movement, and have wheel hub propulsion motors that enable the vehicle to walk either with the feet in line with the body, or wider, similar to the way a reptile walks.

The Hyundai Elevate concept is based on a modular EV platform that can switch between different bodies for specific situations.

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Legs can also be folded away, allowing the vehicle to drive like any other auto on the road. Hyundai says this design is uniquely capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction. This allows the Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle. Walking on its legs the Elevate can step over a five-foot wall and cross a five-foot gap.

Further, the combination of wheeled motion with articulating legs equips the Elevate with faster walking speeds, dynamic driving postures and torsional control at the end of each leg.

"Imagine a vehicle stranded in a snow ditch just 3 metres 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". "The possibilities are limitless".

However, Hyundai's Elevate, which can also drive itself, is a much more radical design.

Prof David Bailey, from Aston Business School, said: "Often auto companies bring out lots of concepts which may or may not make it into production but it's great to think in new ways about mobility".

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