A car with the ability to climb walls and step over holes using a set of robotic legs could transform the way rescue teams operate in disaster zones.
With millions of people from the world every year needing humanitarian assistance following natural disasters, the "Elevate" is a new concept vehicle that has been designed to cover terrain beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicle.
Elevate can be driven by first responders to locations like a traditional electric car – but when the terrain gets tough, it can use its "highly dexterous" robotic legs to move in any direction.
It can climb a 5-foot wall, step over a 5-foot gap, walk at 3 mph over tricky terrain, and achieve a 15-foot-wide wheelbase, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level.
The legs, which can 'walk' like a mammal or reptile, also fold up into a stowed drive-mode, in which it cuts off power to the joints and uses an integrated passive suspension system to maximize battery efficiency.
Since Hyundai unveiled the design for the car earlier this week, the company says that Elevate will not just benefit people in disaster zones, either – disabled people who don't have access to a ramp outside their house could hail an Elevate taxi to walk up to their front door, level itself out, and allow the wheelchair to roll inside the home.