Hyundai’s recently revealed a concept that sounds more exciting than any other thing in the auto world right now. According to CNN, the Seoul-based automotive manufacturer, which recently acquired a controlling stake in robot maker Boston Dynamics, rolled out a new version of its four-legged “walking car” concept that it first unveiled in 2019.
In a press release, Hyundai revealed that it is calling the car TIGER, which stands for “Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot.” It’s the second vehicle to come out of the automaker’s Ultimate Mobility Vehicles studio in Silicon Valley, and the first designed to be fully autonomous, with no space for drivers or passengers. It’s like a real-life Transformer, but without the “bent on world domination” vibe.
Also Read: Driving The New Hyundai i20 2020
Hyundai has talked about the functioning of the car in detail. “Based on a modular platform architecture, its features include 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,” Hyundai said in the press release.
“With its legs retracted, TIGER drives like an all-wheel drive vehicle and is in its most efficient mode because it moves by rolling traction. But when the vehicle gets 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,” Hyundai further said.
The first four-legged concept, called Elevate, was designed to carry passengers, while TIGER is meant to be completely uncrewed — no driver and no passengers. And while they may share some characteristics with Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, Spot, neither concept was designed with any input from the robotics firm that Hyundai recently acquired.
Hyundai was also reportedly in consideration as a manufacturing partner for Apple, which is planning on launching its own electric and autonomous vehicle. However, those talks broke down recently, and Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia have now downplayed the rumors of collaborating with the tech giant.