Hyundai Motor to connect vehicles - and put legs on them

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Hyundai Motor to connect vehicles - and put legs on them


Hyundai Motor introduces the Elevate concept car, a vehicle with robotic legs designed to aid rescue missions in disaster areas, on Monday in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). [HYUNDAI MOTOR]

By 2022, all cars made by Hyundai Motor will be connected to the internet, the automaker announced during a press briefing held Monday in Las Vegas ahead of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

“We aim to have 10 million active users of our connected-car services globally and apply connected-car technology to all vehicle segments in the global market by early 2022,” said Suh Jung-sik, senior vice president of Hyundai Motor Group’s ICT division.

At the CES, the company also introduced a vehicle in which the wheels are attached to robotic legs with a wide range of motion. Hyundai’s concept of a truly connected car is a car smarter than a computer that can share information not only with other vehicles on the road but also with homes, surrounding infrastructure and cities.

Using connectivity, the cars can offer real-time traffic and parking lot information to drivers and also alert drivers remotely of theft. Remote adjustments of in-car settings, such as temperature, will also be possible.

While Hyundai is already offering early versions of its connected cars in Korea, the United States, China, Canada and Europe, the automaker said it will establish additional big-data centers to offer similar services in countries like India, Brazil and Russia.

To offer better connectivity worldwide, the carmaker is currently developing an operating system, a cloud platform and network technology for connected cars. The company also announced a plan to introduce an open platform on which third parties can develop new technologies using big data shared by Hyundai.

Hyundai is not the only carmaker that came to CES with grand ambitions to take leadership in the connected car business.

BMW will introduce the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which can interact with drivers and allow for video meetings, shopping and other digital services inside cars. Audi is introducing a virtual-reality entertainment service for passengers in back seats. VR games or travel content will match the actual movements of the car. In the long run, the carmaker said the videos will reflect real-time traffic conditions so that if a car stops due to red light, the video will show an obstacle.

Other participants, including Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Bosch and Continental, all shared their focus on connectivity.

“In the future, cars will be categorized as cars with hyper-connectivity and those without,” Suh of Hyundai Motor Group added.

Apart from connectivity, Hyundai said it will develop personalized electric vehicles for everyone by giving customers the freedom to select software and hardware for their vehicles.

To bolster open innovation, the carmaker has been setting up global open innovation centers to collaborate with foreign start-ups. Already there are three centers, established in Korea, the United States and Israel. Two more centers are set to be established, in Berlin, Germany and Beijing, China this year.

Hyundai Motor and its innovation center in Silicon Valley, the Hyundai Cradle, introduced the “Elevate” concept vehicle at this year’s CES. It has four robotic legs specifically designed for rescue in challenging environments.

U.S. design-consulting firm Sundberg-Ferar was involved in the development of Elevate, which Hyundai calls the ultimate mobility vehicle. It can swiftly move around places inaccessible to existing rescue transport.

Hyundai said the Elevate’s body can be switched depending on the mission and that the robotic-leg architecture has five degrees of freedom. The company added that the vehicles can also aid people with physical impairments.

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