South Korean car maker Hyundai on Monday gave a look at work it is doing on a vehicle with robotic legs to let it walk or crawl over treacherous terrain.
Hyundai showed off its Elevate project on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show gadget extravaganza, billing it an unprecedented “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle” that combines technology from electric cars with robotics.
“The need for search and rescue, and humanitarian aid, is growing around the world.”
Elevate is designed with four mechanical legs with wheels for feet, according to a small-scale model shown at the press event.
Elevate vehicles can roll along on extended legs or retract them to be driven like a car.
Extended legs could also be used to climb or crawl while keeping the passenger compartment level, according to David Byron of Sundberg-Ferar, an industrial design consultancy, which is working with Hyundai on the project.
“This design is uniquely capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction,” Hyundai said in a release.
Elevate can climb over walls as high as five feet (1.5 meters) while keeping the vehicle body level with the ground, Byron said.
Hyundai has been working on the walking car for three years, according to the company.
Examples of how this might be used included being able to carefully extract injured people from disaster zones or rugged terrain.