Popularly known as the “walking car”, it pushes the boundaries of what we currently call a vehicle. Complex multi-joint legs, inspired by those of a grasshopper, give this “walking car” the ability to climb steps, lift itself above flowing water or even jump over gaps.
The Elevate vehicle is a physical expression of freedom of mobility— a concept that Hyundai believes should be a universal right. For example, even physical movement can be a challenge for some people. To address this, the firm is developing its wearable H-MEX exoskeletons. Aimed at helping paraplegics and elderly people, the robotic medical device can support up to 40kg of the wearer’s weight and can potentially grant movement to those with spinal injuries or muscle issues.
Focusing on the mobility of the human body allows Hyundai to consider a variety of life experiences and situations where mobility—or the lack of it—can have an impact. “If an elderly woman has difficulty reaching the nearest bus stop, it may discourage her from visiting the doctor regularly until she becomes seriously ill,” he says.
It may seem counter-intuitive that Hyundai, traditionally a car making company, is experimenting with and developing these new solutions. However, Chi argues it is better for Hyundai to start thinking in new ways, because the market will not wait for it to do so. “In the future,” he says, “people will prefer more diverse and practical mobility solutions than just buying a car, so we must actively develop transportation solutions for the future, not the past.”
Freedom can be experienced individually or collectively, but it is always embedded in our shared cultural experience. Similarly, people will always need to travel, but how they do so is always evolving. A range of factors—climactic, environmental, social and financial—are affecting how humanity views mobility, and Hyundai understands that it needs to anticipate and meet these demands. “The need for mobility is here to stay. What will change is vehicle ownership—from individuals to service providers,” says Chi.
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