Hyundai’s Go-Anywhere Four-Wheel Drone

While Hyundai’s Tiger X-1 drone concept is an obvious contender for military or first responder uses in remote locations, it could see some of its technology cross into consumer SUVs.

That’s because the level of articulation of its four independently working wheels far exceeds that of any off-road vehicle at present. It opens up a whole new vista of possible recreational driving should the concept ever be employed on a commercial consumer product albeit at a huge price premium.

That said, it’s an interesting look at how a vehicle’s chassis and suspension systems could be stretched into gaining access to a variety of extreme terrain. The concept, named Tiger for transforming intelligent ground excursion robot, is the company’s second ultimate mobility vehicle (UMV) and the first designed to be driverless. It is designed to carry various types of payload while traveling over almost ever conceivable terrain.

It’s the product of Hyundai’s New Horizons Studio, headquartered in Mountain View, California. The studio was established in late 2020 to develop UMVs drawing on research and innovation leadership from Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs. Based on a modular platform architecture, its features include a 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 which can fully charge and deliver Tiger to inaccessible locations.

While the company refers to it as a robot, it makes no specific autonomous driving claims and is most probably aimed a remote control operation from a command center. Dr John Suh, head of New Horizons Studio, said: “Vehicles like Tiger, and the technologies underpinning it, give us an opportunity to push our imaginations. We are constantly looking at ways to rethink vehicle design and development and re-define the future of transportation and mobility.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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