Hyundai shows off prototype rescue robot auto with legs at CES 2019

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Hyundai has shown off a small model of a vehicle it says can activate robotic legs to walk at 3mph (5km/h) over rough terrain.

Elevate is part of Hyundai's "Centre for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences" (Cradle), which aims to enhance transportation on and off the road. The "Elevate" (so-called for reasons that ought to be obvious, if you've already scrolled through the pics) is what Hyundai calls a "Ultimate Mobility Vehicle", or UMV.

However, with the legs deployed, the Elevate "can climb a five-foot (152cm) wall, step over a five-foot gap, walk over diverse terrain and achieve a 15-foot (457cm) wide track width, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level", according to Hyundai.

"When a tsunami or quake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field", said Suh.

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South Korean auto maker Hyundai has unveiled its walking concept vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"When a tsunami or natural disaster hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field", said John Suh, Hyundai vice president.

Pedestrians can be detected more than 450 feet (137 meters) away and the vehicle will even show them what it intends to do next.

What's more, the concept, which was developed in conjunction with Sundberg-Ferar, is based around a modular EV platform that allows different bodies to be switched and swopped when needed.

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Legs can also be folded away, allowing the vehicle to drive like any other auto on the road. The vehicle is created to utilize "both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits", giving it the ability to travel in any direction, the company said, noting that the legs fold up into a "stowed drive-mode" to save power.

And the technology goes beyond emergency situations.

For example, an Elevate stuck in snow on a roadside could get up and walk back to lanes of traffic, or the vehicle could be put to work exploring other planets. The fully autonomous vehicle can even be summoned help people in wheelchairs get to the top of flights of stairs. "The possibilities are limitless".

Hyundai seems less interested in these futuristic visions and more focused on real-world applications for its new technology.

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