Hyundai has revealed its walking Elevate concept at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas – a vehicle designed to traverse rough terrain with its four robotic legs – and aimed to help emergency first responders and those living with a disability.
The Elevate is the first of what Hyundai calls an Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), and can walk or climb over a wide range of terrain, and drive with wheels fitted at the bottom of each leg.
When the legs are stowed, the vehicle restricts power to the joints to maximise efficiency, allowing it to drive like a conventional car.
People living with disabilities worldwide that don't have access to an ADA ramp could hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate that could walk up to their front door.
Designed by Hyundai's Cradle division, the Elevate is built on a modular electric vehicle (EV) platform, allowing various components to be swapped in and out.
According to Hyundai, the Elevate can climb a "five-foot wall", walk over diverse terrain, step over a five-foot gap and stretch to a 15-foot-wide track, while keeping the cabin and its occupants level.
Hyundai Cradle vice-president John Suh imagines the Elevate to one day help emergency services during a natural disaster.
"When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field. They have to go the rest of the way by foot. Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete," he said.
Mr Suh also pointed out the benefits the Cradle technology could have for people living with disabilities.
"This technology goes well beyond emergency situations" he said.
"People living with disabilities worldwide that don't have access to an ADA ramp could hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate that could walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow their wheelchair to roll right in. The possibilities are limitless."
Could this be the future of emergency service vehicles? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.