No, this isn't something out of Mechwarrior.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hyundai debuted a different kind of car: one that walks.
Called the Elevate, Hyundai conceived it as an “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle” with four wheeled and articulating legs that can walk over challenging terrain and inclines. If put into some kind of production -series or limited-, Hyundai says there could be some practical uses, particularly in disaster response in difficult conditions.
"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,” said John Suh, VP and Head of Hyundai CRADLE. “Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete.”
When the legs are articulated, the Elevate can traverse over a wide variety of terrain conditions. While only a concept, Hyundai says it can step over a 5-foot wide gap and climb a 5-foot wall while keeping the body level.
The Elevate can drive like a regular vehicle at highway speeds when the legs are tucked in. The vehicle itself uses an EV drivetrain and chassis that's modular; meaning they can swap out the body to suit a specific need like as a PWD-friendly taxi that can walk right up to a door.
“This technology goes well beyond emergency situations,” continued Suh. “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.”
The practical applications for such a vehicle are quite apparent, especially in the wake of tsunamis and earthquakes in the South East Asian region. Just last month, Indonesia was hit by a volcanic eruption from Anak Krakatoa, resulting in an earthquake and a tsunami.