Hyundai is developing a walking car. There’s lot of talk about “pushing boundaries” and shaping “the future of mobility” and so on in the announcement, but ultimately, it boils down to the fact that Hyundai is developing a walking car.
The division tasked with this simply remarkable and entirely excellent endeavor is its New Horizons Studio focusing on what it calls ‘ultimate mobility vehicles.’ Dr. John Suh, Hyundai VP, will lead the new studio, and explains it even more excellently.
“We aim to create the world’s first transformer-class vehicle.” Transformers. It is literally a robot in disguise.
The first ‘car’ to be developed by Hyundai’s New Horizons Studio is the concept it showed at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the Elevate. “The vehicle does not rely solely on wheels and is expected to address challenging driving situations,” explains Hyundai. “For example, a car with robotic legs could save lives as the first responder in natural disasters. Or people who do not have access to an ADA ramp could hail a car to walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow wheelchairs to roll right in.”
Indeed, the Elevate concept features switchable body shapes on a “modular EV platform,” and actual robot legs. The leg architecture has five degrees of freedom, gets cutting-edge actuator tech, and is said to mimic “mammalian and reptilian walking gaits.” Just gets better and better, right?
Hyundai said it can climb a five foot wall and a five foot gap and walk over “diverse terrain” and “achieve a 15-foot wide track width” and—hang on, if this thing ever becomes sentient, we’re all screwed, aren’t we?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.