CES 2019: Hyundai Elevate electric rescue vehicle concept unveiled

Team OD Updated: January 08, 2019, 06:46 PM IST

Earlier this week, Hyundai had released a teaser image of  the Elevate electric rescue vehicle concept or in Hyundai speak, the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV). And now the automobile major has revealed the concept in detail at the ongoing 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. The Hyundai Elevate, as described by the company, blends technology found in electric cars and robots that allows it to traverse terrain beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicle.

The Hyundai Elevate concept is based on a modular EV platform that can switch between different bodies for specific situations. The robotic leg architecture has five degrees of freedom plus wheel hub propulsion motors powered by electric actuator technology. This design is uniquely capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction, states Hyundai. The legs also fold up into a stowed drive-mode, where power to the joints is cut, and the use of an integrated passive suspension system maximises battery efficiency. This allows Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle. Hyundai claims that no other vehicle can climb a five foot wall, step over a five foot gap, walk over diverse terrain, and achieve a 15 foot wide track width, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level. Further, the combination of wheeled motion with articulating legs provides a new paradigm of mobility by enabling faster walking speeds, unique dynamic driving postures and torsional control at the end of each leg.

"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, 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."

The Hyundai Elevate has been designed with Sundberg-Ferar, located in Metro Detroit, a product innovation studio specialising in innovation strategy, design research, industrial design, user interface, engineering and prototyping. Hyundai has not mentioned any details on the powertrain neither has disclosed any plans of bringing the Elevate concept into reality. However, we believe, at tsunami or earthquake hit regions, such a rescue vehicle will mean faster and better access. "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 vehicle."

"Hyundai Elevate that could walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow their wheelchair to roll right in. The possibilities are limitless," mentions John Suh, VP and Head, Hyundai Cradle. Cradle Hyundai Motor's corporate venturing and open innovation business, which partners and invests extensively in prominent global startups to accelerate the development of advanced future automotive technologies.