Hyundai is unveiling a new rescue vehicle concept and it’s one that would be right at home in a futuristic sci-fi movie.
It’s an electric slash robotic vehicle dubbed Elevate and it’s designed to help first responders tackle difficult terrain following disasters. Wheels with robotic moveable legs allow users to drive, walk or even climb over the most treacherous terrain. Hyundai says it can climb a five foot wall, step over a five foot gap, and achieve a 15 foot wide track width, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level.
“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,” 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.”
Hyundai showed off a model of the concept at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, along with a bunch of photos and video animation that shows us what Hyundai in in mind.
The concept is based on a modular EV platform with the capability to switch out different bodies for specific situations. The robotic leg architecture has five degrees of freedom wheel hub propulsion motors and 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 maximizes battery efficiency. This allows Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle.
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 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