The wheels of this strange 4x4 are mounted on robotic arms

The wheels of this strange 4×4 are mounted on robotic arms

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The rapid advance of robotics may lead Hyundai to a small revolution in the world of 4-wheelers.

At Hyundai, engineers have continuity of ideas and the support of their hierarchy to experiment. In any case, this is the most obvious conclusion after reading the latest press release of the Korean manufacturer discovered by Interesting Engineering; Forget Elon Musk’s Cybertruck, make way for this unlikely 4×4 with a concept as surprising as it is innovative.

This decidedly highly unusual silhouetted machine will be designed by New Horizon Studio (NHS), a new department especially dedicated to exploring cutting-edge machines described as “Maximum mobility vehicles” (for Ultimate Mobility Vehicle), which speaks volumes about its design philosophy.

At this new state-of-the-art facility, the NHS will begin by tackling the production of a ground vehicle described as “autonomous, intelligent and capable of transforming”. Its purpose will be to deliver payloads of vastly different mass, weight and transport tensions across very difficult terrain.

But the most interesting thing is undoubtedly the second project that will see the light of day in the NHS offices. In fact, Hyundai has announced the resurrection of the Elevate project, one of the most exciting and intriguing land vehicle concepts to come out in recent years.

A fun 4 wheel drive wader

It’s essentially a 4×4 mounted on four articulated legs, which was already enough to make it a one-of-a-kind machine when it was introduced in 2019. But since then, the firm hadn’t really communicated on this issue. Therefore, we might expect the project to be put on hold or simply abandoned; but Hyundai’s latest announcement proves that this rather exciting idea is still valid.

hyundai has No new details are disclosed in relation to this project.; so we don’t know how this new vehicle will fit in with the original Elevate concept. In the latter, the most interesting design elements were obviously the four jointed legs. It all starts with four electric motors mounted on segmented appendages. They can to orient the wheel according to 6 different degrees of freedomso you can benefit from optimal traction at all times.

A new definition of off-road

This will allow Elevate to move any type of environmenteven on very rough terrain. In theory, you will even be able to do it smoothly since these four legs will also serve as suspension. The machine also has three different movement modes that are closely linked to the operating mode of this damping system.

The first mode, calledpassive suspension”, works more or less exactly like the shock absorbers on a standard car. The second mode is already more exotic since it forces the arms to adapt their configuration to keep the gondola at a precise height with perfect stability; perfect for transporting sensitive materials or equipment, or even people on rough terrain.

The third mode of travel, called “Reptile”, is undoubtedly the most exotic; consists in doing Move the machine forward by moving the wheels in the same way as a lizard.. The result, visible in the video above, is very striking visually, but also very interesting in terms of engineering.

These four robotic limbs support a fully modular core platform. Therefore, it is possible to climb there. different chassis specifically adapted to different uses or environments. It can be, for example, a basket with several seats to transport passengers, a mobile mini-laboratory with a small cabin, a container optimized for the transport of a certain merchandise, etc.

A specific interest in operations in difficult terrain

According to Hyundai, this machine is designed to meet “difficult driving situations” for all other vehicles. he might as wellsave lives by facilitating access to first aid” to hard-to-reach areas.

Even if Hyundai doesn’t talk about it at all, we can also imagine that this concept could be used to build space exploration rovers. In fact, being able to safely move across any type of terrain without knowing the limitations beforehand could change the game considerably in this context. You only have to look at Curiosity and its tattered wheels to be convinced. Same observation for Perseverance; with such a versatile mode of propulsion, it probably wouldn’t have needed a rover like Ingenuity to navigate safely through the trappings of the Martian surface.

Since the NHS has just officially opened, it will probably take wait a few years before seeing the first prototypes arrive. It will be interesting to see if other manufacturers will also try to reinvent the traditional model of the 4-wheeler by then, or if Hyundai is set to become the undisputed specialist in this technological niche.

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