It’s 2020 and we don’t have flying cars. But maybe, we’ll have cars that can walk soon. Through the use of the generative design capabilities in Autodesk’s Fusion 360 software and 3D printing, Hyundai Motor is developing a walking car it calls the Elevate. Yes, a walking car. Why? Well, imagine rescue scenarios where access is difficult but you need to extract injured people.
Elevate can transform from a four-wheeled, car-like vehicle into a four-legged, reptilian walking machine. It can climb walls and move across diverse terrains while keeping passengers’ level. Watch the video for the full effect, but this is a cool idea.
Developed in collaboration with industrial design studio Sundberg-Ferar and debuted at CES 2019. , the Hyundai Elevate ultimate mobility vehicle (UMV) navigates irregular ground easily with the ability to operate in several modes of travel.
Designing a car that drives and walks is an interesting design challenge. For one thing, it requires light but strong components. That is where generative design comes in. During the design process, John Suh, Hyundai’s founding director of the company’s recently announced New Horizons Studio based in Silicon Valley, and his team turned to Autodesk for guidance.
The use of generative design allowed the design team to explore a number of options for strength, weight reduction, and manufacturability, where the use of 3D printing for prototyping came in. For the vehicle, high-torque electric motors were designed to be at each joint of the “legs.” Thus, structural components needed strength as well as rigidity. But payload requirements meant these structures, which are the “feet” of the vehicle, needed to be fairly light in weight.
Still in development, the Elevate is a 5:1 scale prototype. But imagine the possibilities!