The public got a first look at Hyundai’s Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) concept, the elevation, at CES 2019. The crowds in attendance were presented with scenes of disaster, destruction and desolation as the car-sized robot with toe wheels at the ends of its extendable jointed legs drove, rolled and walked crabbing to help those in need. Hyundai showed the results of development efforts since then on Wednesday by revealing the first concepts for its new Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot (TIGER) program, the X-1 – don’t expect it to come to the rescue of anything. bigger than a kitten at the moment.
“Vehicles like TIGER and the technologies behind it give us the opportunity to push our imaginations”, Dr John Suh, director of the new Hyundai company New Horizons Studio, said in a statement. “We are constantly looking for ways to rethink vehicle design and development and to redefine the future of transportation and mobility.”
Unlike the Elevate, the TIGER is Hyundai’s first UMV designed to operate autonomously. As such, its first tasks consist of either transporting goods, equipment and supplies over difficult terrain rather than humans, or functioning as a mobile science exploration platform and sensors in remote locations.
To reach its destination, the TIGER X-1 (“eXperimental prototype-1”) can drive like a conventional all-wheel-drive vehicle when its legs are retracted; or he can lock each wheel individually and extend his legs to walk, jump or crawl through barriers, berms, and gaps in his path.
Although the Elevate has been described as a vehicle capable of transporting adult humans, New Horizons Studio starts out smaller with the TIGER. “X-1 is about the size of hand luggage,” Suh told reporters during a recent press call. “About 50 by 30, maybe 18 centimeters today.”
“We have focused more on the technological capabilities of the TIGER X-1, and in future versions we will work to increase the size and payload capacity,” he continued. “At the same time, we needed to gather information from our future customers on what they needed in terms of size and capacity.”
Based in Mountain View, Calif., New Horizons Studio has already started reaching out to neighbors in Silicon Valley for help with TIGER development, including Autodesk and design firm Sundberg-Ferar. Autodesk brings its expertise in additive manufacturing and is working on the development of lightweight carbon fiber components for future X-prototypes. Sundberg-Ferar, on the other hand, manages the external design and capabilities of the vehicle.
“When developing TIGER with New Horizons Studio, the Sundberg-Ferar team sought to create a robot that maximized the efficiency of wheel movement with the articulation of a quadruped to expand the possibility of reaching more places. distant, ”David Byron, director of Design and Innovation Strategy at Sundberg-Ferar, said in a statement. “TIGER is a modularly designed platform for attaching different bodies to the chassis for unique applications such as delivering cargo or monitoring in places not suitable for humans.
Hyundai is already considering uses for its “car with legs” design beyond disaster response and freight transportation, including self-driving taxis for wheelchair users who can walk to the doorstep. front door of the person, allowing them to roll seamlessly. Of course, New Horizons still has to either invent, develop or mature a series of internal TIGER systems before this happens, including “wheel-leg locomotion, high-performance materials, structures and power systems.” ; chassis and body systems, virtual development and evaluation systems, and human-centered design and systems ”, by Hyundai.
“There are a lot of technical hurdles that we have to overcome to make it taste like a science project,” Suh conceded. “But our great desire is to make a product of it. One day, that’s for sure.