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Hyundai imagines a world during which it has turned the whole lot right into a robotic


Hyundai has already confirmed off some sensible robotics ideas final month within the lead-up to the 2022 Client Electronics Present. Now the South Korean automaker goes full galaxy mind with the introduction of a brand new “Mobility of Issues” idea that it claims will energy an entire slew of objects, from family crops and guide cabinets, to ambulances and autonomous passenger pods.

The spectrum of issues that may be roboticized (for lack of a greater time period) is “limitless,” mentioned Dong Jin Hyun, vice chairman and head of Robotics Lab of Hyundai Motor Group, in an announcement. “The purpose is for robotics to allow every kind of non-public mobility, linked to speak, transfer and carry out duties autonomously.”

Hyundai says it’s creating two totally different requirements: a modular platform known as “Plug and Drive” (PnD) that mixes steering, electrical drive, and suspension {hardware}; and “Drive and Raise” (DnL) that may raise objects up and down. Mixed with the four-wheeled robotic MobED it introduced final month, the 2 new modular platforms will have the ability to energy a variety of objects to maneuver autonomously on their very own, from tables and containers, to individuals movers.

Picture: Getty Photographs

Right here’s how Plug and Drive will work, based on Hyundai:

The PnD modular platform is an all-in-one mobility answer that mixes clever steering, braking, in-wheel electrical drive and suspension {hardware}. The one wheel unit makes use of a steering actuator for infinite wheel rotation, that means it could possibly flip 360 levels, which permits holonomic motion, like a determine skater. LiDAR and digital camera sensors permit a PnD-enabled object to maneuver autonomously.

PnD modules could be hooked up to something from tables to containers for expandable mobility. Customers can choose varied drive configurations and platform sizes primarily based on their necessities.

“The PnD Module is adaptive and expandable to match human wants. As a result of on this planet to come back, you gained’t transfer your issues — they are going to transfer round you,” Hyun mentioned. “PnD makes usually inanimate objects cell. It’s this means that makes altering virtually any house doable. It’s a solution to configure areas on demand.”

Hyundai claims the modular platforms could be configured to switch workplace house to make “goal constructed areas” doable. However the extra intriguing prospects are in transportation. The corporate imagines a “goal constructed car,” measuring roughly 4 ft by 5 ft, as a “last-mile mobility [solution] for a single passenger.”

Sounds cool, however it’s going to rely on the way it seems to be in actual life. Hyundai previewed a few of these ideas in a shiny video it’s produced depicting a aged lady retrieving her strolling cane from a robotic holder, after which being whisked down the aspect of her multistory condo constructing in an “individualized mobility cabin.” Later, we see her smile contentedly from inside a shiny black pod on 4 wheels because it zooms across the nook of a anonymous metropolis. The pod docks with a “mom shuttle” containing a dozen different pods, with a scrolling LED signal meant to seem like a metropolis bus.

It’s not precisely dystopian, but it surely’s not not dystopian, if you happen to get my that means. Presenting the thought as a mobility answer for individuals (i.e., seniors) with restricted choices is a good way to gloss over a few of the extra disturbing facets, reminiscent of a robotic bus filled with human passengers which might be trapped inside individualized take a look at tube containers.

Hyundai is clearly enthusiastic about the way forward for robotics. Final yr, the corporate, which has a controlling stake in robotic maker Boston Dynamics, rolled out a brand new model of its four-legged “strolling automotive” idea known as TIGER, or “Remodeling Clever Floor Tour Robotic.” It’s the second car to come back out of the automaker’s Final Mobility Autos studio in Silicon Valley, and the primary designed to be absolutely autonomous, with no house for drivers or passengers. It’s like a real-life Transformer, however with out the “bent on world domination” vibe.

In some ways, this builds on ideas launched by Hyundai at CES in 2017, when the automaker envisioned a mashup of a wise dwelling with an autonomous car, with futuristic furnishings transferring seamlessly between each. Tellingly, this imaginative and prescient by no means got here to go. However because the know-how matures, Hyundai remains to be holding out that its bizarre robotics ideas can discover their footing in the actual world.

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