WATCH: Hyundai’s ‘Tiger’ is a four-wheeled robot designed to go anywhere
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA - Two years ago Hyundai dazzled off-road enthusiasts with a concept car called the Elevate, which featured an innovative mechanical leg and wheel system that allows it to walk, climb and roll.
Now Hyundai has pulled the covers off its little brother, which is a somewhat smaller autonomous vehicle that’s not designed to carry human occupants. Rather its mission is to transport goods to the most remote locations imaginable.
Designed to function as a mobile scientific exploration platform, Tiger is built around a modular platform architecture, and features a sophisticated leg and wheel locomotion system as well as 360-degree directional control, and a range of sensors for remote observation. It is also intended to connect to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can fully charge and deliver the robot-vehicle to inaccessible locations.
A large load bay housed within its body allows it to carry goods for delivery, or be deployed to deliver aid packages in emergency situations. Leg-wheel articulation enables the robot-vehicle to tackle a range of extreme situations while keeping payloads more level than a typical ground vehicle.
With its legs retracted, Tiger drives like an all-wheel drive vehicle and is in its most efficient mode because it moves by rolling traction. But when the vehicle gets stuck or needs to travel over terrain that is difficult or impassable for wheels alone, it uses its walking ability to get unstuck or more easily travel over that terrain.
Tiger is being developed by Hyundai’s New Horizons Studio, headquartered in Mountain View, California.
“Vehicles like Tiger, and the technologies underpinning it, give us an opportunity to push our imaginations,” said studio head Dr John Suh.
“We are constantly looking at ways to rethink vehicle design and development and re-define the future of transportation and mobility.”