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Hyundai reveals Elevate 'walking car' concept at CES

by Justin King

The company believes legs and wheels represent the future of the first responder industry.

Hyundai has revealed its Elevate 'Ultimate Mobility Vehicle' (UMV) concept at CES in Las Vegas.

The company claims the Elevate is the first-ever vehicle that combines wheels with moveable legs, blending technology found in electric cars and robots. The design allows the vehicle to travel over terrain that would block traditional off-road trucks.

"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," says Hyundai vice president John Suh. "Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete."

The company suggests the technology could also be used to provide greater mobility for people with disabilities who lack an ADA ramp. The Elevate can 'walk' up to the front door, level itself and allow a wheelchair to roll in at the top of the staircase.

The Elevate's robotic legs feature five degrees of movement in-wheel propulsion, with the ability to walk in "mammalian- and reptilian-style gaits" for omnidirectional motion. The legs can climb a five-foot vertical wall or step over a five-foot gap.

The Korean automaker has not mentioned any plans to put the Elevate into series production.

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