Hyundai’s Mobis division, which works on developing autonomous driving, has come up with a compact module that works much like truck crab-walk technology. But rather than for off-road situations, “e-Corner” is compact enough to fit in smaller vehicles for urban drivers. Its most immediate remedy is making parallel parking easier and almost foolproof. A Hyundai Ioniq 5 at the 2023 CES Show in Las Vegas, featured the technology.
How does the e-Corner technology work?
Identical e-Corner modules fit onto each of the four wheel assemblies. They each contain brake-by-wire, steer-by-wire, an electric motor, and an electric damper. They’re compact enough so as not to take up space inside the wheel wells, so e-Corner fits everything from small cars to buses.
You can see in the video the versatility the technology allows. And its compactness, a necessity for seeing production, is impressive. There is no way heavy, bulky units would work on smaller cars like the Ioniq 5.
Haven’t we seen devices like e-Corner before?
With the wheels able to turn up to 90 degrees makes parallel parking effortless. e-Corner also allows zero-turning radius, driving diagonally, and pivoting by turning only the rear tires. So now, tight-turning difficulties are almost nonexistent.
Several companies almost from the start of vehicle manufacturing have come up with novel ways for dealing with tight maneuvering and parallel parking aids. But they were all complex and heavy components not really suitable for mass adoption. Engineers could only develop what technology of the times allowed. With current technology and miniaturization, those stumbling blocks are now lifted.
Probably the most recognized of these early inventions was called The Park Car. Developed in the 1930s, it used what looked to be a spare tire in the back of the trunk that dropped down. Spare tires were considered sporty and elegant in those days, adding somewhat to potential appeal.
Why weren’t these parking devices put into production?
A small motor activated the tire swinging the back end into parallel parking spaces. Newsreels and then television would sometimes show the novelty demonstrated, especially on early 1050s American cars. But that is really what they were, just novelties.
You can see in the newsreels they weighed the back of the cars down. That adversely affects handling, mileage, and the potential for breakdowns of the complex systems. So there was a tradeoff to having it. And then spare tires on the truck went out of fashion, ending the possibility of it ever seeing production.
While the e-Corner technology has been in the works for years, with prototypes shown the last several years at CES shows, it now appears to be production-ready. Hyundai says it could be on production cars by 2025. And it wants to make the technology available to other automakers, not just exclusive to Hyundai.