In an emergency situation like an earthquake, a hurricane or a flood, the first few hours are crucial and even a few seconds can make a significant difference. For first responders, the first 72 hours following a natural disaster are the most critical when it comes to saving lives. In many cases, the scenario is such that access to the areas where search and rescue personnel are needed is difficult.
This urgent need for efficient, rapid, resilient transportation for disaster assistance motivated Hyundai to come up with what it says is the first-ever vehicle with moveable legs. The Hyundai Elevate is the first ever Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), which effectively combines the technology that is found in electric cars and robots so that it can tackle the most difficult terrain that can test the capabilities of the most capable off-road vehicle.
Commenting on the vehicle, John Suh, Vice President and Head of Hyundai CRADLE said that normally when a natural disaster like an earthquake or a tsunami strikes, rescue vehicles only have the capability to deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field. They then have to make their way by foot. Elevate has the capability to drive right to the scene and to climb over flood debris or crumbled concrete. This vehicle can be used not just in emergency situations, but can also be used by people living with disabilities who lack access to an ADA ramp. They could hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate which could walk up to their front door, level itself, and then allow their wheelchair to roll right in.
The Elevate concept is inspired by the idea of a modular EV platform which has the capability to switch out different bodies for specific situations. The robotic leg architecture comes with five degrees of freedom and wheel hub propulsion motors. It is enabled by the latest in electric actuator technology. The vehicle can replicate both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, and can hence move in any direction.
The legs can 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 makes it possible for the Elevate to drive at highway speeds like conventional vehicles. Currently, there is no other vehicle which can easily climb a five-foot wall, step over a five-foot gap, walk over different types of terrain, and achieve a 15 foot wide track width, and this is all done while its body and passengers continue to be completely level.
The Hyundai Elevate offers a new form of mobility with its articulating legs which work in tandem with wheeled motion to facilitate faster walking speeds, unique dynamic driving postures and torsional control at the end of each leg.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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