Hyundai is Developing All-Terrain ‘Transformer-Class’ Vehicles with Legs

Hyundai is Developing All-Terrain ‘Transformer-Class’ Vehicles with Legs
Image: Hyundai

Hyundai is pushing ahead with its CES 2019 ‘walking car’ concept, with a new development unit known as New Horizons Studio set to focus on developing Ultimate Mobility Vehicles (UMVs) for all-terrain, off-road travel in the future. Largely, these vehicles will be designed for use in challenging conditions that require additional maneuverability and precision.

The aim of the new studio is to create the world’s first ‘transformer-class’ vehicle “to wander with unprecedented mobility.” The vehicles will perform this rugged, all-terrain travel by making use of spindly ‘legs’ rather than tyres. Early concept art for the vehicles depict a pod attached to four mechanical limbs, although it’s likely the concept (known as ‘Elevate’) will change rapidly through the prototyping process. For now, the vehicles strongly resemble something you’d see in The Mandalorian or episodes of Transformers.

While they're not quite as exciting as real-life Transformers, these vehicles present a range of possibilities for the future. In the short term, these vehicles could be used to cross rocky deserts and mountains with ease and in the longer term these vehicles may find their way onto our roads. Parallel parking sure would be a lot easier if you could rock one of these bad boys and slide into your chosen spot with style.

For now, the Elevate concept is stuck firmly in the future. New Horizons Studio will continue working on UMVs over the coming years as Hyundai invests in the future of transport innovation. As well as the leggy UMV, Hyundai are also working on new electric cars and flying vehicles.

What's clear from this announcement is the future of transport may be wilder than we think. Electric and hybrid vehicles are already transforming our roads, with self-driving cars also emerging as a strong possibility for our future travel. Who's to say we won't all be piloting long-legged mechs in the next few decades?

If Hyundai has anything to say, the war for Cybertron may be closer than we think. It's time to prepare for our Transformer-led future.