Hyundai Investing Millions In Wacky Ultimate Mobility Vehicles

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They'll be developed and tested at a new center in Bozeman, Montana.

Hyundai is transforming into an increasingly more adventurous brand than it was even a decade ago. Its new Ioniq range of EVs all have edgy designs, such as the Ioniq 5. Last year, the company entered the compact truck segment with the award-winning Santa Cruz. And don't forget that it's one of the very few companies that make a hydrogen-powered car in the form of the Nexo. But Hyundai's next vehicle looks absolutely nothing like anything else you've seen from the Korean marque. Known as an Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), the brand has announced that it will be building these at a new Research, Development, and Lab Center in Bozeman, Montana.

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This research center is one section of New Horizons Studio (NHS) that forms part of a $20 million investment over the next five years. Located in the Montana State University's Innovation Campus, it's the alien-like UMVs coming out of this center that are the main attraction. There are several applications for UMVs such as construction, disaster management, natural resource management, and urban/rural logistics. Two UMV models will be the center of attention initially. One is an uncrewed transforming intelligent ground excursion robot that can carry various payloads over treacherous terrain, and another is inspired by the Elevate walking car concept. The latter is larger and has robotic legs.

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The greater goal of New Horizons Studio is to construct vehicles for customers who need to traverse difficult terrains that would be inaccessible for regular sedans or SUVs.

"Montana is quickly becoming a hub for high-tech companies and entrepreneurs with a growing talent pool of skilled labor in the field of engineering, research, and natural science," said Dr. John Suh, head of New Horizons Studio. He said that Bozeman's location close to "dozens of off-road trails with more than 150 miles of terrain" is ideal for testing these unusual UMVs. While it may be many more years before you can buy a UMV-type vehicle from Hyundai, it's great to see the brand exploring transportation solutions far beyond current applications.

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