Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Hyundai displayed a scale model of a concept for an outlandish vehicle that they think could be useful for emergency responders and search and rescue organizations.
It truly looks like something out of a science fiction movie. And for now, anyway, it is just an idea since it hasn’t been manufactured.
Their “Elevate” vehicle has four rubber tires and can travel down a road much like a regular car. Each wheel is driven by individual electric motors and is attached at the end of a “leg” that has three or four joints, or knees. The legs are folded unless the driver needs to navigate over rough, rocky terrain, or has to step over a five-foot wall, in which case the legs extend and can begin walking.
There have been a number of wildfires that come to mind (in the U.S., Australia, Greece, and Portugal) in which residents fleeing by car became trapped on roads blocked by a fallen tree or traffic jams. Rescuers in an “elevated” vehicle might be able to quickly access the area, stepping over the trees or going off-road to bypass the obstacle. It could also be used as an all-terrain ambulance that could transport wildland firefighters out of terrain that is moderately steep and rocky.
Hyundai admits that the Elevate is a pretty wild concept and has no plans to manufacture the vehicle, but is using the project to explore ideas and technologies that could be useful down the road.
In the video below a representative from Hyundai describes some of the features of the Elevate.