Hyundai’s Elevate ‘walking car’ can climb over rough terrain, will debut at CES

There’s more car news in advance of CES 2019, as Hyundai has announced a car that can not only drive but also walk or climb over challenging terrain. At CES, the car company will present its new vehicle concept called the Elevate, which is a vehicle combining aspect of robotics and electric vehicle technology into a four-legged prototype which gives new options for vehicular mobility.

The uses of a car that walks are almost infinite, but Hyundai is focusing at first on emergency response situations. The slim body of the vehicle has enough room to carry a stretcher with a patient aboard, and the large side doors would be a way for responders to load patients in and treat them in place. The extendable legs with wheels on the ends are what allows the vehicle to move over various terrains, as they can roll like normal wheels or be extended to walk over obstacles or rough ground.

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Hyundai ‘Elevate’ Walking Car Concept

One concern over such a concept is balance, as the higher the vehicle body sits over the legs, the less stable it is. The wheels are fairly small and the tires have little in the way of tread, which means that the vehicle might struggle in some off-road conditions. But for a rocky environment like the Elevate is shown in the promo image, it could reach places and people that other types of vehicle could not.

It remains to be seen whether this is the future of rescue vehicles: Hyundai describes the project as a “design concept and prototype,” so it’s not clear if or when they will be producing this vehicle commercially. It’ll be awhile before you’re able to get a walking car of your own, but the fact that a prototype exists should show that the concept works.

Hyundai will be showing off the vehicle in Las Vegas at CES 2019, so we’ll be waiting to see how it controls to find out more about how maneuverable it will be and how much of a challenge it will be to drive. For those heading to CES who want to know more, the prototype will be shown at a press conference at 3 p.m. PT on January 7 at the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center, Level 2, Oceanside B.

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