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CES: The car that walks

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Hyundai provided the following information on the operations of the Elevate:

The Elevate concept is based on a modular electric vehicle (EV) platform with the capability to switch out different bodies for specific situations. The robotic leg architecture has five degrees of freedom, plus wheel hub propulsion motors, which is enabled by the latest in electric actuator technology. This design is uniquely capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction.

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. But no other 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 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.”

Inside the Elevate, passengers would experience a vehicle fully engineered to tackle the roughest terrain comfortably. Engineering enhancements include:

  • Robotic legs with five degrees of freedom plus in-wheel propulsion.
  • Ability to walk in mammalian and reptilian style gaits for omnidirectional motion.
  • Capable of climbing a five-foot vertical wall.
  • Step over a five-foot gap.
  • Non-back drivable motors enable the legs to lock in any position.
  • A modular electric vehicle platform.

“We have been working with Sundberg-Ferar on the Elevate Concept for almost three years now,” added Suh. “Elevate is part of our various ‘Last-Mile’ technologies and solutions and it also has ‘Last-100 Feet’ capability too.”

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