Back at CES 2019, Hyundai unveiled its “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle” concept, dubbed the Elevate. Now it’s back with a follow-up, but while the Elevate hauled people to far-ranging places, the new Tiger X-1 shrinks down and goes autonomous. Thanks to its combination wheels and legs, it can transport materials even deep into a forest. At least, if it ever leaves the concept phase.
While the Elevate is a large walking car with room for four passengers, the Tiger-X1 is decidedly smaller. According to Hyundai, it’s about the size of carry-on luggage. But what it lacks in size, it makes up in mobility and versatility. The Tiger X-1 can attach to a companion drone and fly to a remote location to get a close starting point to begin its trek. And the Tiger-X1 can take charge (or give a charge) to that drone for expended battery life.
Unlike the Elevate, the Tiger-X1 doesn’t call for a pilot and functions more like a drone—albeit one based on land. Once it’s off, it can move in several ways. By default, it will retract its legs and drive around much like a small car. But if it encounters an obstacle any other vehicle couldn’t handle, it will extend out its legs.
It can walk, hop, climb, or even roll past whatever obstacle it encounters with its legs out. That includes climbing rocks, bypassing fallen trees, and more. The Tiger-X1 won’t haul people out to remote locations, of course, but it could haul sensors, equipment, and other material. Its symmetrical design means it can easily move forward, backward, sideways, or rotate as needed.
Thus far, the Tiger X-1 is a concept (the X-1 stands for eXperimental prototype 1), but Hyundai is already working with others to make it a reality. Eventually, the company hopes to make it a fully modular design to customize for each trip as needed. But it’ll be a while before we see an “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle” on the streets.