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Las Vegas, US, January 8, 2019 — Just in time for the opening day of the CES 2019, Hyundai unveils a series of car concept with a walking mode for enhanced mobility. These rather futuristic looking vehicles, that go by the name of Hyundai Cradle or Hyundai Elevate, are designed to be the first “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle” (UMV).

From how they describe it, these cars are not meant to become a mainstream vehicle to roam our streets at some point in the future. They have varies scenarios that might require an extraordinary amount of mobility. For on, Hyundai says that they could help rescue and support missions after and during a natural disaster to save lives with the movable legs, to pass over obstacles in the mammalian or reptilian walking modes. Like this, it could support not only the ambulance teams but possibly also serve as a vehicle for the fire brigade.

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Mobility and accessibility

Another interesting aspect is the elevation feature which, from the concept design renders provided, is intended to make it easier for people in a wheelchair to access the vehicle, by removing the need to get up or done some stairs. While this is not ultimately helpful and not a possibility for all places, it’s still good to see that they are trying to make their products more accessible and more mobile.

They have confirmed the following features to be part of this conceptual design:

  • 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
  • Modular electric vehicle platform

Many such futuristic car concepts never make it to the factory but perhaps there are some applications for this kind of vehicle in the future.

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Leadership thoughts

“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. 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.”
– John Suh
Vice President and Head of Hyundai CRADLE

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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. 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.
– David Byron
Design manager, Sundberg-Ferar

We have been working with Sundberg-Ferar on the Elevate Concept for almost three years now. Elevate is part of our various ‘Last-Mile’ technologies and solutions and it also has ‘Last-100 Feet’ capability too.
– John Suh
Vice President and Head of Hyundai CRADLE


YouTube: Hyundai Walking Robot Car ‘Cradle’ [Render + Prototype Footage]

Photo credit: All material shown is owned by Hyundai.
Source: Hyundai press release
Editorial notice: The visuals used to support the article are very likely computer renders and footage from prototypes.