Giant strides: Hyundai’s TIGER


Giant strides: Hyundai’s TIGER X-1 walking car redefines mobility [watch]

Walk the talk: The South Korean carmaker’s TIGER X-1 self-driving concept car could be used to explore other planets or deliver medicine and food to people in remote areas after a disaster.

Giant strides: Hyundai’s TIGER


Hyundai has taken giant strides in its efforts to redefine mobility through a smaller, self-driving pod which does not carry any passengers,

Hyundai says this without a doubt a conceptual experiment, for now.

And if parts of the design look familiar, that’s because the TIGER’s modular platform has more than a few elements in common with Hyundai’s Elevate walking car concept from 2019, reports Car and Driver.

While Elevate was an “ultimate mobility vehicle” that was meant to be operated by a person inside the pod, the TIGER is smaller, self-driving, and can’t carry people.

Watch the Hyundai TIGER X-1 walk the talk

Ability to move in any direction

Like Elevate, the TIGER can extend its four legs and rotate its wheels to give it the ability to move in any direction and walk over complex terrain.

This capability “[exceeds] the limits of even the most capable off-road vehicles,” said New Horizons Studio vice president and founding director John Suh.

New Horizons Studio started in 2020 as a way for Hyundai to explore unusual mobility efforts with a focus on providing options for customers who need to move in “unconventional and off-road terrain, including places where vehicles have never roamed before,” Hyundai said.

Suh said the New Horizons Studio team, working in partnership with Autodesk and the Detroit-based studio Sundberg-Ferar, took the Elevate and adapted it to be used autonomously for carrying goods or sensors.

Multiple potential uses

The potential uses for a vehicle like TIGER fit the New Horizons name incredibly well, he said.

Suh said a vehicle like this could be used on the moon or to explore other planets. On Earth, a vehicle like the TIGER could be used to deliver products to people in cities, medicine, or food to people in remote areas after a disaster or simply as a mobile science platform in places that are difficult for humans to reach.

“If TIGER’s wheeled legs can’t get it all the way to its destination, the robot can be deployed from an unmanned aerial vehicle. This flying drone can even recharge TIGER’s batteries, or vice versa, depending upon what’s needed in any given situation.”

Hyundai TIGER X-1 much more than just a ‘project’

While TIGER is wildly different from today’s vehicles and intended to be used on difficult terrain, Suh told Car and Driver that his team is thinking about ways to make TIGER a reliable, real vehicle.

This starts by making the complex components as simple as possible. The non-pneumatic tires can’t get flat, for example, and the vehicle’s design is symmetric on two axes, meaning the four corners are repeated.

Without a front or a back, manufacturing TIGER would mean building the same parts over and over, which will help with reliability and possible repairs.

“Our vision and goal is to produce product, and therefore it’s much more than a science project,” Suh said.

“I would not be offended if people call it that right now because, in fact, we are trying something new. It has the flavor of a science project, but our great desire right now is to make it a product one day.”