Hyundai Elevate Can Walk As A Reptile or A Mammal Over Any Imaginable Terrain

I thought I had sen it all, but then Hyundai revealed the Elevate Concept, an Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), at this year’s CES. It is a car. Actually, a vehicle that can drive and that can walk. Yup, you’ve read that right. The Hyundai Elevate Concept is one of the latest projects that has developed in the minds of Hyundai designers heads from the Hyundai Cradle Center for Robotic-Augmented Design. These people are obviously buried into sci-fi, or, at least, into things that Boston Dynamics does with its robots. Hyundai Cradle created a vehicle that looks a bit like that Boston Dynamic cyberdog, or the Star Wars AT-AT walker. But the Hyundai Elevate Concept isn’t supposed to go to war (well, it is a bit). In fact, it is an out-of-the-box design exercise that shows the possibilities for an all-terrain vehicle that weren’t explored before.

And, with this, I do not imply comparing it with the machines that can conquer Moab. The Elevate Concept is a vehicle designed to help the unfortunate in search-and-rescue missions, on humanitarian missions, or to walk over terrain no vehicle has ever managed to traverse. Its go-anywhere capability is unmatched even by the most extreme offroad machines you can think of. All because of the robotic legs with tires linked on far ends. Actually, as I visually inspect the Elevate Concept, I am rather sure that a similar sketch exists somewhere in a NASA office in a drawer where all the rejected designs for Mars rovers reside. I get that vibe from this. It’s like Hyundai designers looked to create a vehicle for the Earth from the perspective of some “alien NASA” designers. I actually like it a lot.

The Hyundai Cradle, a Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences, that actually envisioned the vehicle, managed to craft something that goes well beyond what a standard car, or a truck, can do. The Hyundai Elevate Concept can walk, climb, and traverse almost every kind of terrain.

Exterior

2019 Hyundai Elevate Concept
- image 812920

Now, you should forget everything you know about car design. The Elevate Concept has basically been designed around the robotic legs that sit on its four corners. No Fluidic Sculpture here. At all. Only pure form and function. With a friendly attitude, I might add.

As one of the most imaginative CES concepts this year, the Hyundai Elevate actually does not have a uniform exterior look.

Instead, its frame (wheels on legs with six hip points and the mainframe with 66-kWh batteries between it) serves as a platform for the addition of different kind of cabins. So, with a body set on the frame, one can even call the Elevate a body-on-frame vehicle. Actually, we already have a name for this arrangement. We call it the Skateboard platform.

Hyundai gifted us with a number of different options for the Elevate Concept body. We can see it as an NYC taxi, as a search and rescue vehicle, as an army transport, or just as a shuttle.

Obviously, different purposes require a slightly different exterior design, adapted for a certain use.

In essence, with a frame like this, the body and the cabin are both just a pod that attaches according to certain needs. I can imagine, say, a police force with five different pods for five different applications parked in a garage with only one frame and a rig that can easily shift pods on the frame. In that sense, not only does the Elevate provide unmatched freedom on the terrain, but it can also be adapted for different applications.

“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 Design Manager David Byron.

2019 Hyundai Elevate Concept
- image 812921

“Imagine a car stranded in a snow ditch just 3 meters 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.”

So, after all this has been said, I can conclude that the exterior design depends on the vehicle application. You cannot expect a New York Taxi that moves on the highway and in the city to look the same as a search and rescue vehicle, can you now? This gives a proper utilitarian essence to the overall idea behind the Elevate Concept.

Interior

2019 Hyundai Elevate Concept
- image 812918

Hyundai did not reveal any photos of the interior, but I can tell you right away that the NYC Taxi interior isn’t the same as the rescue vehicle interior. In fact, Hyundai PR gurus wrote only one sentence about the Elevate Concept interior:

“Inside the Elevate, passengers would experience a vehicle fully engineered to tackle the roughest terrain comfortably.”

Honestly, I do not see the Elevate with the gear from the Palisade.

If this thing, by some magic, comes to life, the Elevate Concept would probably have a utilitarian interior but garnished with all the modern-age stuff such as the USB ports, screens, air-con, and nice ergonomic seats.

Waterfall dashboard with ambient lights and soft-touch materials on the doors? Forget about it!

Drivetrain and Tech

2019 Hyundai Elevate Concept
- image 812919

Standard propulsion methods would never allow for the creation of a car like this. Just imagine if the Elevate had axles. With axles, it could not have legs, nor wheels that can turn in any direction.

Electric Hub motors, however, enabled the Hyundai Cradle designers to create such a fine machine.

Four motors located in four wheels are placed at the ends of the large robotic legs with five hip points. These points basically allow the legs to move in more directions than human legs. Thus, Hyundai programmed the Elevate Concept to move in a mammalian fashion and in a reptilian fashion. Plus, it can climb.

In fact, let me show you exactly what Hyundai revealed in its press release about the Elevate Concept capabilities.

PR reads:

“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. 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.”

Furthermore, the main capabilities include:
- * Robotic legs with five degrees of freedom plus in-wheel propulsion,
- * Ability to walk in a mammalian and a 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.

As all of this is rather hard to imagine, I found a nice video on the Elevate Concept that showcases what this concept is actually capable of. If you are into this thing, I highly suggest you watch it.

The four electric motors get all the needed power from 66 kWh batteries located on the floor between the legs.

The same batteries supply power for the hip points (joints) on the legs that elevate or lower the frame as per instructions or needs. Furthermore, the Elevate Concept is fully able to fold the legs, lock the joints, and lean the legs against coilovers for driving on the highway (the Elevate is capable of highway speeds, mind you). Quite a clever arrangement, wouldn’t you say?!

Conclusion

2019 Hyundai Elevate Concept
- image 812922

If Hyundai Cradle manages to produce a full-size working prototype with all the capabilities shown in the pictures and on the videos you could see here, I will be amazed. This thing looks complicated, and I am not certain how that walking, jumping thingy would work in the real world. However, we do have rovers on Mars. Read that again. Rovers on Mars. And they work. Like, really well. Yes, Hyundai can definitely build this and probably provide another solution for the unfortunate in the areas with natural disasters, or any other types of disaster.

Hyundai Cradle is definitely focused on solving many “search and rescue” issues with the UMV.

“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.”

I don’t know if I am just hyped up about this, but I really want the Elevate Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) to be a thing.

  • Leave it
    • Its Just An Idea
    • It would be expensive
    • Battery Pack could be a tad bigger

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Debuting at CES 2019, “Elevate”, the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), prepares communities in the event of a natural disaster
Wheels with robotic legs allow users to drive, walk or even climb over the most treacherous terrain

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 2019 – Any first responder will tell you that the first 72 hours following a natural disaster are the most crucial to saving lives. However, often times due to the nature of the disaster (forest fire, earthquake, hurricane, or flood), it can be difficult for search-and-rescue and humanitarian aid missions to reach and get immediate help to those in need.

The need for efficient, rapid, resilient transportation for disaster assistance is what led Hyundai to develop the first-ever vehicle with moveable legs. Elevate is the first Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), blending technology found in electric cars and robots, which allows it to traverse terrain beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicle.

The Hyundai Elevate Concept in action after an earthquake.

Watch the Hyundai Elevate Concept video here.

https://newspress-hyundai.s3.amazonaws.com/videos%2Foriginal%2F35027-ElevateFullLengthFINAL.mp4

“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.”

The Hyundai Elevate Concept helps a person get to a doctor appointment in a city.

The Elevate 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 plus 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. 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.

The Hyundai Elevate demonstrates its mammalian walking gaits.

“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.”

A Hyundai Elevate climbs itself out of a snow covered ditch.

The Hyundai Elevate in drive mode.

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
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 Yards’ capability too.”

###

About Hyundai CRADLE
Hyundai CRADLE is 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. CRADLE identifies newly established startups that focus, amongst others, on ‘Disruptive Innovations’, including mobility services, artificial intelligence, robotics, smart energy solutions, smart city and cyber security.

About Hyundai Motor Company
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond with its range of world-class vehicles and mobility services offered available in more than 200 countries. Employing more than 110,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai sold more than 4.5 million vehicles globally. Hyundai Motor continues to enhance its product line-up with vehicles that are helping to build solutions for a more sustainable future, such as NEXO – the world’s first dedicated hydrogen-powered SUV.

More information about Hyundai Motor Company and its products can be found at: http://worldwide.hyundai.com or http://globalpr.hyundai.com

About Sundberg-Ferar
Sundberg-Ferar, located in Metro Detroit, and established in 1934, is a product innovation studio specializing in innovation strategy, design research, industrial design, user interface, engineering and prototyping. For decades they have spearheaded design trends by specializing in multiple categories such as consumer products, medical equipment, and vehicles of all types, that improve people’s quality of life through impactful “concept–to-completion” product design and development.

More information about Sundberg-Ferar can be found at:

www.sundbergferar.com

Contact:
Jeevak
Principal + Director of Strategic Growth | SundbergFerar.com
jeevak@sundbergferar.com | mobile 248 202 9338

Disclaimer: Hyundai Motor Company believes the information contained herein to be accurate at the time of release. However, the company may upload new or updated information if required and assumes that it is not liable for the accuracy of any information interpreted and used by the reader.

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