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

10 January 2019
Hyundai's 'walking car' could be the ambulance of the future

Resembling something from a Transformers film, the vehicles are created to navigate hard terrain by blending electric auto and robotic tech. So what do you think about the Elevate? "Elevate has the ability to take people where no vehicle has been before, and redefine our perception of vehicular freedom", said David Byron, design manager, Sundberg-Ferar, the company which has worked with Hyundai Cradle on this project for the past three years.

Elevate can climb over walls as high as five feet (1.5 meters) while keeping the vehicle body level with the ground, Byron said.

"When a tsunami or quake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field", said Suh. "What if a vehicle designed with robotics could save lives in disasters", said Hyundai's Innovation Head, John Suh.

The passenger pod is supported by four robotic legs with five degrees of freedom in addition to an in-wheel propulsion system.

One such use for the Elevate, Hyundai imagines, is to ferry search-and-rescue supplies and staff to areas affected by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and fire, where traditional emergency services vehicles may not be able to navigate.

Pedestrians can be detected more than 450 feet (137 meters) away and the vehicle will even show them what it intends to do next.

When in "drive-mode" with the "legs" automatically folded out of the way, the Elevate can cruise at highway speeds, just like a normal vehicle.

Suh added that the vehicle's usefulness wouldn't be limited to emergency situations. This means it can function like a traditional vehicle, capable of traveling at highway speeds with passive suspension. The design can use both mammalian and reptilian walking gates allowing it to move in any direction. "The possibilities are limitless.", mentions John Suh, VP and Head, Hyundai Cradle.

According Hyundai MOBIS' director of lamp engineering, Mirco Goetz, "Light has been used as a conduit for communication among vehicles and pedestrians for nearly as long as the automobile has existed, so we are excited to lead the evolution of this technology to save lives and offer peace of mind to all that use the road". The fully autonomous vehicle can even be summoned help people in wheelchairs get to the top of flights of stairs.