Hyundai's 'Elevate' concept is a four-legged first responder

Hyundai Elevate Walking Car Concept

Image Hyundai

The need for efficient, rapid, resilient transportation for disaster assistance is what led Hyundai to develop the first-ever vehicle with moveable legs. Reaching the disaster struck faster means saving a lot of lives.

That quandary is solved by modern electric auto technology, with special propulsion motors mounted inside each wheel, powered by the latest electric actuator technology.

Furthermore, the legs can fold up into a stowed drive mode, where power to the joints is cut, allowing the Elevate to drive at highway speeds.

"When a tsunami or natural disaster 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.

What's more, the concept, which was developed in conjunction with Sundberg-Ferar, is based around a modular EV platform that allows different bodies to be switched and swopped when needed. Elevate is designed with four mechanical legs with wheels for feet and can roll along on extended legs or retract them to be driven like a vehicle.

The company believes that the technology could be used in non-emergency situations as well, particularly helping those with disabilities. Dubbed the Hyundai Elevate, the Korean firm says the concept can traverse terrain "beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicle". This allows Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle. John Suh, VP of Hyundai Cradle, said Elevate is capable of climbing a 5-foot vertical wall or over a 5-foot gap while keeping its passengers level.

Hyundai previewed an idea it has for a giant "walking" auto with a very small model of it at CES in Las Vegas.

"Imagine a auto 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", said said David Byron, design manager at Sundberg-Ferar. "What if a auto designed with robotics could save lives in disasters", said Hyundai's Innovation Head, John Suh. This gives the Elevate omni-directional mobility capabilities and Hyundai claims that it can tackle all terrains seamlessly while adapting to varied degrees of difficulty on the fly.

According to Suh, the Elevate has been three years in the making.

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