Remember the Hyundai Elevate Concept at CES last year? It's entering production.
One of the standout surprises at the 2019 CES show in Las Vegas was the debut of the Hyundai Elevate, a walking car concept that looked like something out of a science fiction film. Despite its futuristic design, it serves a practical purpose that could help save lives.
Thanks to its four extendable legs with wheels, Hyundai's "Ultimate Mobility Vehicle" can effortlessly cross difficult terrain that's impossible for even a capable off-roader like a Jeep Wrangler to navigate, making it ideal for first responders to use in natural disaster zones to search for survivors. The Elevate was presented as a concept, but Hyundai has announced it will enter production.
Development of the walking car will be handled by Hyundai's newly-formed New Horizons Studio, which specializes on developing Ultimate Mobility Vehicles. Hyundai's Horizons Studio will build vehicles that can "wander with unprecedented mobility" and are designed for customers with "a need for travel in unconventional and off-road terrain, including places where vehicles have never roamed before." Hyundai also claims the new Horizons Studio "reimagine how vehicles might traverse the world."
Leading New Horizons Studio will be Vice President Dr. John Suh, who has held several leadership roles at Hyundai Motor Group since 2011. He was founding director of Hyundai Ventures and Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences), and also brings over 35 years of experience in the automotive and emerging technology sectors, including roles at Stanford University, Palo Alto Research Center, and General Motors.
"We aim to create the world's first transformer-class vehicle, also known as the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle," said Dr. Suh. Also joining New Horizons Studio as the company's Director of Product Management is Dr. Ernestine Fu, who has helped research human operator and autonomous vehicle interactions at Stanford University's Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab.
The Elevate concept is based on Hyundai's modular electric vehicle platform allowing for different body shells to be installed. Each wheel is powered by an independent electric motor, meaning the Elevate can also be driven as a four-wheel-drive car with the legs stowed away.