The Hyundai “Elevate” Ultimate Mobility Vehicle has taken its bow at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Last week, Hyundai teased us with a wild new concept vehicle that turns the idea of what a car can be on its head. Rather than wheels safely locked inside wheel wells and attached by an axle, the Elevate concept has wheels on the ends of 4 robotic legs attached to an electric passenger pod.
The whole thing sort of looked like a gondola that sprouted legs and walked away from the ski hill.
Hyundai has now officially debuted the Elevate at CES on Monday and given us a bit more information on just how the whole thing works. It took 5 years for Hyundai and industrial design company Sundberg-Ferar to create the Elevate using the latest in robotics and electric vehicle technologies.
The showcase of the design is obviously the 4 robotic legs attached to a modular passenger pod. Each leg has five degrees of freedom and can be oriented to resemble the walking gait of any mammal or reptile on Earth. The legs and wheels are powered by electric actuators that can be locked in any position in order to keep the passenger pod steady in any environment.
Hyundai released renderings showing the Elevate used as a taxi walking up stairs to access a wheelchair-riding passenger, used as an ambulance in a disaster-stricken urban environment, or just casually waltzing around a rocky moonscape.
The Korean carmaker says that Elevate can step over a 5-foot gap, climb a 5-foot wall, and has a track width of 15 feet. The legs and wheels allow the Elevate to move in any direction at any time, allowing it to be used for pretty much any purpose you can think of.
“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 at 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.”
Best of all, if you just want an electric car the legs can be stowed away for regular driving on the highway. Or they can be extended to let the Elevate drive above cars stuck in traffic.
Hyundai didn’t mention that last part, but that’s the obvious selling point. Here’s hoping this is one concept that eventually reaches production.