Hyundai imagines a world in which it has turned everything into a robot

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

The spectrum of issues that may be roboticized (for lack of a higher time period) is “limitless,” stated Dong Jin Hyun, vp and head of Robotics Lab of Hyundai Motor Group, in a assertion. “The aim is for robotics to allow all types of private mobility, related to speak, transfer and carry out duties autonomously.”

“The aim is for robotics to allow all types of private mobility”

Hyundai says it is creating two totally different requirements: a modular platform referred to as “Plug and Drive” (PnD) that mixes steering, electrical drive, and suspension {hardware}; and “Drive and Carry” (DnL) that may carry objects up and down. Mixed with the four-wheeled robot MobED it introduced final month, the 2 new modular platforms will be capable of energy a vary of objects to maneuver autonomously on their very own, from tables and containers, to individuals movers.


CES2022 KV 3. PnD Module

Picture: Getty Photos

Right here’s how Plug and Drive will work, in line with Hyundai:

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

PnD modules could be connected to something from tables to containers for expandable mobility. Customers can choose numerous 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 in the world to return, you gained’t transfer your issues — they are going to transfer round you,” Hyun stated. “PnD makes usually inanimate objects cellular. It’s this capability that makes altering virtually any area attainable. It’s a solution to configure areas on demand.”

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

Sounds cool, however it will rely on how it appears to be like 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 facet of her multistory residence constructing in an “individualized mobility cabin.” Later, we see her smile contentedly from inside a shiny black pod on 4 wheels as 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 appear like a metropolis bus.

It’s not precisely dystopian, however it’s not not dystopian

It’s not precisely dystopian, however it’s not not dystopian, in the event you get my which means. Presenting the concept as a mobility resolution for individuals (i.e., seniors) with restricted choices is a nice solution to gloss over a number of the extra disturbing facets, resembling a robot bus full of human passengers which can be trapped inside individualized check tube containers.

Hyundai is clearly enthusiastic about the way forward for robotics. Final yr, the corporate, which has a controlling stake in robot maker Boston Dynamics, rolled out a new model of its four-legged “strolling automotive” idea referred to as TIGER, or “Reworking Clever Floor Tour Robot.” It’s the second car to return out of the automaker’s Final Mobility Automobiles studio in Silicon Valley, and the primary designed to be absolutely autonomous, with no area 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 good dwelling with an autonomous car, with futuristic furnishings shifting seamlessly between each. Tellingly, this imaginative and prescient by no means got here to go. However because the expertise matures, Hyundai continues to be holding out that its bizarre robotics ideas can discover their footing in the actual world.

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