Last week Hyundai released some teaser material of its walking Elevate
concept, designed to negotiate "treacherous" areas a conventional wheeled
vehicle would struggle to get ahead. At CES 2019, the UMV – for Ultimate
Mobility Vehicle – saw its official debut.
Hyundai calls the Elevate EV the world's first vehicle with moveable legs.
It still has wheels, too, but they are attached to the ends of what can only
really be described as legs, so that the vehicle can find footing on
collapsed and destroyed ground after an earthquake, a hurricane or a flood.
The leg architecture has "five degrees of freedom", according to Hyundai, as
well as hub propulsion motors and actuators.
Crucially, it can also fold up to cruise at highway speeds, after scaling a
five-foot wall or reaching over a five-foot gap, or freeing itself from
snow. "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", said designer David Byron from Hyundai's design partner,
"When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver
first responders to the edge of the debris field. 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, Hyundai vice president
and head of Hyundai CRADLE, or Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living