Hyundai's walking car could save lives and even go to Mars

(c) Sky News 2019: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/hyundais-walking-car-could-save-lives-and-even-go-to-mars-11601554">Hyundai's walking car could save lives and even go to Mars</a>
 

Hyundai has unveiled a car that can walk, a development that it hopes will save lives in disaster zones.

The van-like vehicle has been developed to help emergency workers travel across terrain so tough that it would defeat most other vehicles.

The South Korean carmaker revealed the new concept, called Elevate, in an animated video shown at technology conference CES (Shenzhen: 300469.SZ - news) in Las Vegas.

Its body can be changed and entered from all four sides, its robotic legs have five degrees of freedom and wheel hub propulsion motors.

It can climb a 5ft wall, step over a 5ft gap and achieve a 15ft-wide track width - all while keeping its body and the passengers inside it completely level.

It can move in any direction, walk at different speeds, and the legs can be stowed if the driver wants to leave the disaster zone and take on a normal flat road.

John Suh, vice president and head of Hyundai CRADLE, which developed the concept, said: "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."

The vehicle could also help those with disabilities, he said.

If someone could not access a building without a ramp, for example, the Elevate could walk across, level itself and allow the wheelchair to enter before moving it into the entrance.

Mr Suh said: "I like to imagine that one day we'll send crewed missions to the moon or Mars.

"When that day happens the Elevate will be a fantastic way to send a whole new generation of explorers to do science and discover those places because as yet there aren't any paved roads waiting for them there."

Hyundai has been working on the concept with industrial design consultancy Sundberg-Ferar for three years.