Short Circuit

Hyundai’s car with legs can save lives


What looks like something out of a Star Wars film is just a new kind of vehicle for emergency responders in crises situations. Hyundai has built a vehicle called Elevate that is a new class of vehicle. It can drive like a regular vehicle, but grows legs to step through rubble, or climb up stairs.

The need for transportation in disaster zones is what led Hyundai to develop the first-ever vehicle with moveable legs. Elevate is the first Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), blending technology found in electric cars and robots, which allows it to get to places where even the most capable off-road vehicle cannot go.

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. “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.”

The concept uses a modular EV platform that can fit different bodies for particular situations. The robotic leg architecture features wheel hub propulsion motors, electric actuator technology, and five degrees of freedom. This means that the vehicle can move with both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction and deal with any kind of landscape.

This creature’s legs can fold up into a stowed drive-mode and an integrated passive suspension system maximizes battery efficiency. Not just a vehicle for awkward situations, Elevate can reach highway speeds just like any other vehicle.


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