Exploration robots are not an absolute novelty for the automotive industry and the newfound desire to go into space is stimulating designers and engineers in the design of cutting-edge vehicles, with extraordinary equipment. It is easy to think of Perseverance – the NASA rover, which is currently wandering on Mars – but also of the Lunar Cruiser that Toyota is building with the Japanese Space Agency. Hyundai is now also competing in the competition with the new TIGER, acronym for Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot: the second UMV (Ultimate Mobility Vehicle) built by the Korean company but the first to be able to operate unmanned. It is a real ‘intelligent’ excursion robot, capable of transforming itself and carrying different types of loads on any terrain. And it moves on four wheels.

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The New Horizons Studio is developing it of Hyundai based in Mountain View, California, in partnership with Autodesk, an engineering design firm, and concept design experts Sundberg-Ferar. The vehicle moves through long articulated ‘legs’ and the aforementioned wheels, has 360 directional control and a range of sensors for remote observation. TIGER was conceived to function as a mobile scientific exploration platform in extreme and remote locations, and also to connect to unmanned aerial vehicles (so-called UAVs, which Hyundai is actively working on), which can easily load it and deliver it to inaccessible places.

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TIGER moves like an all-wheel drive vehicle. Just like Elevate – the first UMV concept presented by the manufacturer – when it risks getting stuck or has to move on terrain that is too difficult and impracticable for the wheels alone, it uses the ability to walk to unlock or move more easily. But while Elevate was carrying passengers, the TIGER also operates unmanned. The first version shown by Hyundai formed by a light and resistant structure, with the legs and some elements of the frame created using additive carbon fiber printing. Hyundai calls it ‘an ideal tool for 360-degree surface assessment in areas hit by natural disasters, while tackling challenging terrain or exploring the surface of a satellite or another planet.’ Perhaps, his true destiny.

February 23, 2021 (change February 23, 2021 | 14:33)

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