Car for Ants
On Wednesday, Hyundai released a teaser image of Elevate, an electric vehicle with four robotic legs designed to allow the car to walk or climb over rough terrain.
The company promised to reveal a design concept and prototype of the walking car on Monday at CES 2019, and it delivered — albeit on a small scale.
During a press conference at the annual electronics convention, Hyundai shared a video in which a CGI version of an Elevate climbs over rocks and rubble, looking all kinds of badass.
It also revealed a decidedly less badass 1:8 scale model of an Elevate — no doubt disappointing those hoping to see a full-scale version of the vehicle crawl across the stage.
Still, the video showcasing the tiny robotic car’s capabilities is impressive. The robot crawls along the floor on its four legs and even climbs (slowly) onto a platform — all while the body of the vehicle remains fairly level.
Hyundai might not have a drivable Elevate, but it certainly has plenty of ideas for how one might be useful.
As anticipated from the initial concept image, the company believes Elevate could be a boon in emergency situations.
“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,” John Suh, Hyundai vice president, said in a news release. “Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete.”
Hyundai also believes Elevates could one day provide transportation services to people with mobility issues.
“This technology goes well beyond emergency situations,” Suh said. “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.”
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