TIGER walking car concept from Hyundai
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(Credit: Hyundai Motor Group)

New Hyundai TIGER concept combines robotics with transportation, comes up with walking car

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Feb 10, 2021, 8:34 PM EST (Updated)

It’s probably safe to say that Hyundai is betting big on the future of transportation. Last week, we got wind of their plan to build the world's smallest airport for flying cars, and then yesterday, the South Korean company just went even more futuristic by presenting its "walking car" concept, TIGER, aka the transforming intelligent ground excursion robot.

Branded as the company’s first uncrewed ultimate mobility vehicle (UMV), TIGER is meant to transform from a four-wheel drive vehicle to a four-legged walking machine.

Developed by Hyundai Motor Group’s New Horizons Studio in partnership with Autodesk and Sundberg-Ferar, TIGER is meant for carrying payloads to hard-to-reach terrain. The Silicon Valley studio also created the Elevate walking car concept, which debuted at CES 2019. But while both are described in a press release as being able to “traverse terrain beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicle,” TIGER is Hyundai’s first UMV designed to be uncrewed and fully autonomous. 

Transformers, roll out!

Check out the vehicle in action in the video below:

“Vehicles like TIGER, and the technologies underpinning it, give us an opportunity to push our imaginations,” said Dr. John Suh, Head of New Horizons Studio. “We are constantly looking at ways to rethink vehicle design and development and re-define the future of transportation and mobility.”

To take full advantage of the UMV’s go-anywhere ethos, TIGER is designed as a mobile scientific exploration platform able to function in the most inaccessible and extreme locales. The vehicle is based on a modular platform architecture, and features a leg and wheel locomotion system, 360-degree directional control, and a myriad of sensors for remote observation. It can also hook up to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), so as to be dropped off, picked up, or charged up virtually anywhere. Potentially even off-planet. 

It also features a large load bay for carrying goods or delivering aid packages in hard-to-reach emergency situations. And because of its sophisticated leg-wheel articulation, the goods can remain level, even as TIGER “walks” over the trickiest of terrain.

Though TIGER is just a proof of concept at this point, and Hyundai has no current plans for mass production, the New Horizons Studio is working on a number of UMV concepts, that "do not rely solely on wheels and are 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 without access to a curb ramp could hail a car to walk up to their front door, level itself and allow wheelchairs to roll in."

So yeah, it sounds like we're dealing with Autobots as opposed to Decepticons.