The robot car for first responders
Natural disasters can throw plenty of barriers in front of first responders. Which is why Hyundai have engineered a robot car with legs capable of clearing the debris.
When a natural disaster strikes, the first 72 hours are critical.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) outlines that response teams are trained to be prepared to deploy and save lives in that critical time frame.
But in the event of a tsunami, earthquake, major storm of fire, accessibility can be a major barrier preventing these first responders from reaching those that need help the most.
Which is why Hyundai has launched the Elevate Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), a unique vehicle designed to navigate even the most rugged terrain.
Part vehicle, part robot, this first response unit has moveable legs that allow it to climb over broken ground far better than any off-road vehicle could.
Hyundai vice president and head of Hyundai CRADLE John Suh said this would get first responders to the heart of the incident.
"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.
There are further applications for Elevate as well, with Suh saying it could be a gamechanger for those living with disabilities.
"This technology goes well beyond emergency situations - 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," he said.
The ‘walking’ technology is advanced, using the mechanisms of mammals and reptiles to allow it to move in any direction.
It is capable of clearing 150cm barriers, which could be debris or holes in the ground.
And once the stricken have been rescued from the natural disaster zones, these legs can fold up so Elevate can operate as a normal vehicle for rapid extraction to hospitals etc.
“By combining the power of robotics with Hyundai's latest EV technology, Elevate has the ability to take people where no car has been before, and redefine our perception of vehicular freedom,” Sundberg-Ferar’s design manager of Elevate David Byron said.
"Imagine a car stranded in a snow ditch just 10 feet off the highway being able to walk or climb over the treacherous terrain, back to the road potentially saving its injured passengers – this is the future of vehicular mobility."