LAS VEGAS — Hyundai, the South Korea based automotive company, unveiled its latest innovation this week at the Consumer Electronics Show — a car with legs.
The vehicle, dubbed Elevate, can walk and climb in addition to drive, and is geared toward aiding emergency responders in tough-to-reach areas after a natural disaster.
“The legs have five-degrees of freedom. There’s an in-wheel motor. So, these legs can walk in mammalian mode and reptilian, and that really makes it omnidirectional,” David Byron, manager of design and innovation at Sundberg Ferar, a company working with Hyundai on the project, told Fox News."It can go anywhere, it can drive like a regular car but when it gets to a situation where a normal wheeled vehicle reached its limit, this can standup — crawl over various terrain.”
Although the concept sounds intriguing, John Suh, vice president and founding director of Hyundai CRADLE — the company’s corporate venturing innovation business — stressed there is no timetable for actual production.
"The way we think about this vehicle is an experimental vehicle. So, it's meant to push the boundaries of what’s possible, of what can be done and new applications that is kind of breaking the boundaries of what we think about cars today,” Suh said.
He added, “what’s actually made in production is probably going to be a very different version than what we showed today [at CES].”
The company demonstrated a small-scale robotic version at the convention on Monday, which displayed the various functionalities from walking to climbing.
According to a press release, the car is capable of climbing a five-foot vertical wall, step over a five-foot gap and has legs that can lock in any position. While the initial idea behind the concept is directed toward helping in rescue efforts, Byron believes it could also be useful for everyday consumers.
“My dream is yes, eventually all cars have legs. But, there are obvious extreme scenarios that make launching a product into something like search and rescue more likely in the beginning. But, there’s no reason it can’t trickle down eventually to consumer vehicles.”
As Hyundai continues development on its walking car, Suh said to expect more innovation from the automotive company as it looks to identify itself as more than just a car brand.
“We have to mind the business as it is today, that said though, we're going to be exploring new ideas that maybe the public might not have thought about as coming from Hyundai from the past,” Suh told Fox News.