Like me, if you too had watched a lot of Air Crash Investigation episodes, you would know how important the first responders are to save any survivors. If an aircraft crashes on a mountain covered with dense forest, obviously, it would be difficult for a normal vehicle to reach the crash site, and more so by just walking.
Which is why Hyundai has come up with a concept that could change the way the first responders work in the future. In an event of a natural disaster such as forest fire, earthquake, hurricane, flood, or any disaster for that matter, the Elevate Concept can be of a great help, thanks to its wheels with robotic legs.
The Elevate Concept is built on a modular EV platform, meaning the body can be switched for specific situations. The robotic leg architecture has five degrees of freedom, plus wheel hub propulsion motors. This design is capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction. The legs also fold up into a stowed drive-mode, where power to the joints is cut off, and the use of an integrated passive suspension system maximizes the battery efficiency.
The Elevate can drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle, but can climb a five foot wall, step over a five foot gap, walk over diverse terrain, and achieve a 15 foot wide track width, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level, like no other vehicle.
If you’re wondering about the taxi body, it is apparently to help a person get to a doctor appointment in a city.
“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. Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete,” said John Suh, Hyundai vice president and head of Hyundai Cradle. “This technology goes well beyond emergency situations – 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.”
“By combining the power of robotics with Hyundai’s latest EV technology, Elevate has the ability to take people where no car has been before, and redefine our perception of vehicular freedom,” said David Byron, design manager, Sundberg-Ferar. “Imagine a car stranded in a snow ditch just 10 feet off the highway being able to walk or climb over the treacherous terrain, back to the road potentially saving its injured passengers – this is the future of vehicular mobility.”