Talks between Hyundai and Apple over a potential partnership may have broken down but that hasn’t stopped the Korean automaker from unveiling its latest concept vehicle, TIGER (Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot).
TIGER is being developed by Hyundai Motor Group’s New Horizons Studio, headquartered in Mountain View, California. The studio was established in late 2020 to develop Ultimate Mobility Vehicles (UMVs) which draws on research and innovation from Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs.
TIGER has been designed to carry various types of payloads while travelling over challenging terrain. Based on modular platform architecture, the vehicle features a sophisticated ‘leg and wheel’ locomotion system, 360-degree directional control, and a range of sensors for remote observation. It is also intended to connect to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can fully charge and deliver TIGER to inaccessible locations.
A vehicle’s large load bay housed within its body means it can carry goods for delivery or be deployed to deliver aid packages in emergency situations. Thanks to its unique leg-wheel articulation, TIGER is able to tackle a range of extreme situations while keeping payloads more level than a typical ground vehicle.
When TIGER’s legs are in their retracted position the vehicle is able to drive like any regular all-wheel-drive vehicle. It is also the most efficient mode because it moves by rolling traction. When the vehicle does eventually get stuck or needs to travel over terrain that is difficult or impassable for wheels alone, it uses its walking ability to get unstuck or more easily travel over that terrain.
This ability to seamlessly change from its driving position to its walking condition is nothing new for Hyundai. The feature was first seen in Elevate, Hyundai Motor Group’s first-ever UMV concept with moveable legs, which debuted at CES 2019.
According to David Byron, Manager of Design and Innovation Strategy at Sundberg-Ferar, “While developing TIGER with New Horizons Studio, the team at Sundberg-Ferar was looking to create a robot that maximized the efficiency of wheeled motion with the articulation of a quadruped to expand the possibility of reaching more remote locations.”
Take a look at TIGER in action below:
Picture: Hyundai newsroom