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Hyundai Motor Group forms New Horizons Studio to develop Ultimate Mobility Vehicles (UMVs); “transformer-class vehicles”

Hyundai Motor Group has formed New Horizons Studio, a new unit focused on the development of Ultimate Mobility Vehicles (UMVs), including the concept Hyundai Elevate walking car introduced at CES 2019 (earlier post).

Hyundai Elevate does not rely solely on wheels and is expected to address challenging driving situations—for example, a car with robotic legs could save lives as the first responder in natural disasters; or, people who do not have access to an ADA ramp could hail a car to walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow wheelchairs to roll right in. Using a combination of robotics and wheeled locomotion technology, Elevate and other vehicles by New Horizons Studio are will attempt to redefine vehicular mobility.

Hyundai cradle elevate 41546914978520

The Hyundai Elevate in drive mode.

The products will target customers who have a need for travel in unconventional and off-road terrain, including places where vehicles have never roamed before. These vehicles will be subject to more challenging applications and environments, adaptable to changing conditions.

Hyundai cradle elevate 41546914978520

The Hyundai Elevate envisions using mammalian and reptilian walking gaits.

Envisioned Elevate engineering enhancements include:

  • Robotic legs with five degrees of freedom plus in-wheel propulsion;

  • Ability to walk in mammalian and reptilian style gaits for omnidirectional motion;

  • Capable of climbing a fivefoot vertical wall;

  • Step over a fivefoot gap;

  • Non-back drivable motors enable the legs to lock in any position;

  • Modular electric vehicle platform.

New Horizons Studio is led by Vice President Dr. John Suh, who has held several leadership roles at Hyundai Motor Group since 2011. He served as founding director of Hyundai Ventures, and then, led Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences) as its founding director based in Silicon Valley.

Dr. Suh brings more than 35 years of expertise in the automotive and emerging technology sectors, including roles at Stanford University, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC; formerly, Xerox PARC), and General Motors Company.

We aim to create the world’s first transformer-class vehicle, also known as the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle.

—Dr. Suh

The new unit furthers Hyundai Motor Group’s vision to shape the future of mobility and onboard forward-thinking, innovative leadership from Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs.

Also making the jump to New Horizons Studio is Dr. Ernestine Fu, who joins the group as Director of Product Management. She has led research on human operator and autonomous vehicle interactions at Stanford University’s Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab, as well as scaled emerging technology companies for more than nine years as a venture capital partner at Alsop Louie Partners.



I think I saw something similar on HBO's Westworld.

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