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Car manufacturers often create concept vehicles to showcase their technological prowess. However, most never get past the prototype stage because the designs are too far-fetched or expensive to make on a large scale. But on May 5, 2022, South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai announced plans to further develop the Elevate and Tiger X-1. The radical concept Ultimate Mobility Vehicles (UMVs) were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
The Elevate is reminiscent of the four-legged All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT) walkers used by Imperial ground forces in the Star Wars franchise. The battery-powered vehicle can accommodate up to four passengers. Equipped with extendable robotic legs, the vehicle can step over debris and climb over five-foot-tall walls, while keeping its passengers completely level. Elevate can also be driven on roads and freeways with the legs tucked in.
Hyundai believes Elevate could be used for rural exploration or to help first responders navigate uneven terrain in the aftermath of natural disasters. The vehicle could also make it easier to transport those in wheelchairs. The company envisions the Hyundai Elevate "walking" up to their front doors and allowing the wheelchair to roll right inside.
The Tiger X-1 has similar features to the Elevate. However, it is unmanned, autonomous, and small enough to be carried by a drone.
Hyundai maintains the Tiger X-1 could be used for scientific explorations of extreme environments or for emergency services, like sending medicine or equipment to the site of a natural disaster. The vehicle could perhaps someday even be used to traverse the surface of the Moon or Mars.
The Korean car manufacturer is also working on making urban air mobility vehicles (UAMs) a reality by 2028. The company thinks the autonomous flying taxis will make it easier to transport commuters and cargo in densely populated urban cities.
Resources: Hyundai.com, Cnet.com, Businessinsider.com, Studyfinds.com