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The Hyundai Motor Group, which includes the mobility brands Kia, Hyundai and Genesis, has unveiled a new transportation study called TIGER (Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot). It is the Group's second Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) and the first unmanned. The “versatile intelligent ground excursion robot” is designed in such a way that it can transport various kinds of payloads in rough terrain. TIGER was developed by the company's own New Horizons Studio, which was founded at the end of 2020 and is based in Mountain View, California. Its task is to create UMV concepts and to draw on the research and innovation leadership of Silicon Valley and other innovation centers.
“Transportation like TIGER and the technologies behind it expand our imaginations,” says John Suh, director of the New Horizons Studio. "We are constantly looking for ways to rethink the design and development of vehicles and to redefine the future of transport and mobility."
Suitable for use in inaccessible places
With its extraordinary capabilities, TIGER serves as a mobile scientific exploration platform in extreme, remote locations. Its basis is modular and includes, among other things, a sophisticated locomotion system with legs and wheels, 360-degree control and numerous sensors for remote monitoring. Combined use with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is also planned, which TIGER can fully charge and bring to inaccessible places.
Due to its large loading space, TIGER can transport goods or deliver aid packages in emergency situations. The mobility of his legs and wheels enables him to cope with various extreme situations while keeping the payload in a more level position compared to a conventional ground vehicle.
When its legs are retracted, TIGER drives like an all-wheel drive vehicle and is most efficient because it moves by turning. But when he gets stuck or has to negotiate terrain that is difficult or impossible to pass on wheels, he uses his ability to walk to move forward. "Elevate" already had this special feature, the first versatile UMV study by the Hyundai Motor Group with wheels and movable legs, which was presented at the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in 2019. The difference between the two concepts is that Elevate can carry passengers while TIGER is unmanned. What they both have in common is that, thanks to the combination of robotic and rolling locomotion technologies, they leave even the most powerful off-road vehicles behind on difficult terrain.
First TIGER X-1 developed in close cooperation with partners
The first version of the TIGER that has just been presented is called X-1, where the "X" stands for experimental. A wide range of technology and design skills come together in the project. It is managed by New Horizons Studio, which works with Autodesk, a leading company in construction software.
“The close cooperation with the Hyundai team on the TIGER X-1 project, in which advanced technologies such as generative design are used, which can make means of transport both more stable and lighter, is exactly what we mean by exploiting new possibilities "Said Srinath Jonnalagadda, vice president of business strategy for design and manufacturing at Autodesk. "The new design, construction and manufacturing techniques made possible by Autodesk Fusion 360 help today's modern, collaborative teams get their developments into production faster and more efficiently."
TIGER X-1 combines the potential of generative design from Autodesk with the growing research and development skills of the Hyundai Motor Group in the mobility sector. The teams have jointly designed a lightweight yet extremely stable structure. The legs and some chassis elements were made from carbon fiber composite materials using a 3D printing process.
The New Horizons Studio also worked with external concept design experts at Sundberg-Ferar to develop the TIGER X-1's ability to move critical payloads to and from hard-to-reach locations. Its properties make the study ideal for 360-degree surface analyzes in areas affected by natural disasters and in which difficult terrain has to be mastered, or even when exploring another planet or moon.
"When developing the TIGER, the Sundberg-Ferar team and the New Horizons Studio pursued the goal of creating a robot that combines maximum mobility on wheels with the agility of a four-legged friend," says David Byron, Manager Design and Innovation Strategy at Sundberg-Ferar. “Due to the modular concept, the chassis can be combined with various superstructures. As a result, TIGER enables unique applications such as freight transport in areas that are difficult to access or observation in places that are not suitable for people. "
New Horizons Studio: Source of Ultimate Mobility Solutions
New Horizons Studio creates vehicles with unparalleled mobility. The products are tailored to the travel and mobility needs of users who move on unconventional terrain or off-road, including areas that cannot be reached by conventional wheeled vehicles. The “Ultimate Mobility Vehicles” developed by the studio are suitable for particularly demanding applications and environments and can be adapted to changing conditions.
The studio's focus is on developing technologies that enable concepts such as TIGER. This includes locomotion on wheels and legs, high-performance materials and structures, high-performance drive systems, chassis and body systems, virtual development and assessment systems, as well as user-centered design and the corresponding systems. All of these technologies represent a significant technical advance that can be applied to any vehicle and will accelerate the development of groundbreaking mobility solutions.
The New Horizons Studio is driving the Hyundai Motor Group's vision of shaping the future of mobility and bringing forward-thinking, innovative leaders from Silicon Valley and other innovation centers on board. The UMV concepts that are currently being developed can be used in many situations. For example, you could save lives as first responders in natural disasters. Or they offer people in wheelchairs who cannot climb the steps in front of their house the option of being picked up at the front door by raising the passenger cabin to this level. The goal of Elevate, TIGER and other developments from the studio is to redefine vehicle mobility through the combination of robotics and rolling locomotion technology.
Of course that had not happened yet!
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