What if cars could also walk?

Hyundai Cradle

The Hyundai Cradle team and Sundberg-Ferar worked together to explore compelling extreme mobility use-cases and develop a solution utilizing robotic capabilities to overcome the limitations of even the best off-road vehicles. ELEVATE, the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) focuses on not only going the last mile but going the last 100 feet no matter what the terrain. SF’s design team needed to define the specific user needs, explore emerging and enabling technologies, and develop a conceptual prototype to showcase the possibilities of a car that could walk.

After developing the first concept that was enabled using mammalian-only architecture, the team felt the design was efficient, but limited while traversing extreme obstacles.

The design team looked at the biomechanics of animals such as spiders and reptiles, which have vertically oriented hip joints, and redesigned the final concept with a hip and leg architecture that could flip from mammalian to reptilian depending on the demands of the terrain.

Hyundai: Cradle ELEVATE UMV

“Having the ability to walk could provide valuable mobility out of difficult situations. Wheels are extremely efficient – and we want to be able to leverage wheels whenever useful – but being able to walk over or on top of things can provide a tremendous amount of additional mobility.”

John Suh

VP Hyundai

Human Impact

Using research tools such as Quid analytics, SF developed compelling human-centered scenarios to showcase demand for vehicles that go beyond the limitation of current wheeled vehicles. Imagine the growing urban elderly population trying to hail a ride share vehicle that could not only pull up to their street, but climb up to the front door and level itself for them to easily enter, and then walk back down to the street and drive away. How often do vehicles slide off a snowy highway and get stuck in a ditch, putting the riders in life threatening situations? If the vehicle could stand up and climb out of the ditch, the riders could be safely on their way.

Business Impact

Hyundai Cradle debuted the ELEVATE project at CES 2019 showcasing the walking scale prototype on stage, along with animations depicting the potential of a vehicle that can walk and roll. The potential of this life-changing mobility has inspired more development within Hyundai as they explore extreme mobility opportunities.

Other New Mobility Projects