The Hyundai ‘taxi with legs’ starts development at New Horizons Studio


Image credit: Hyundai

Hyundai Motor Group have announced the formation of New Horizons Studio, a new unit focused on the development of Ultimate Mobility Vehicles, or UMVs for short.


Hyundai Elevate will be the inaugural vehicle concept now being developed by New Horizons Studio. The concept was first released last year at CES 2019 and focuses on a concept vehicle that does not rely solely on wheels.

The ‘taxi with legs‘ is aiming to address multiple challenging driving situations, from a car with robotic legs that could save lives as the first responder or a taxi which can be hailed to walk up stairs to the customers front door and allow wheelchairs to roll right in.


Using a combination of robotics and wheeled locomotion technology, Elevate and other vehicles by New Horizons Studio are hoped to redefine vehicular mobility.


The New Horizons Studio will be led by Vice President Dr John Suh, who has held several leadership roles at Hyundai Motor Group since 2011. Dr Suh said: "We aim to create the world's first transformer-class vehicle, also known as the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle."

The Elevate concept is based on a modular Electric Vehicle (EV) platform with the capability to switch out different bodies for specific situations. The robotic leg architecture has five degrees of freedom plus wheel hub propulsion motors and is enabled by the latest in electric actuator technology.

Image credit: Hyundai Motor America

The design showcased at CES 2019 displayed a unique capability to switch between both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction. The legs also fold up into a stowed drive-mode, where power to the joints is cut, and the use of an integrated passive suspension system maximizes battery efficiency. This allows Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle.

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