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Hyundai Tiger: Is It A Car Or A Cyborg?

What is this? It has wheels and it has legs, or at least what looks like legs. Is it manned? No. Is it programmed? Let’s take a look and see if the Hyundai Tiger is a car, robot, or cyborg?

A “four-legged all-terrain robot and walk-about”

Hyundai TIGER autonomous robot concept traveling over alien terrain
Hyundai TIGER autonomous robot concept traveling over very rough terrain | Hyundai

It is being described as a “four-legged all-terrain robot and walk-about.” It’s made to take payloads through difficult terrain or climate conditions unsafe for humans to enter. Hyundai says disaster relief or scientific exploration would be other activities. 

The leg and wheel propulsion system allow it to conquer almost any surface. And do it with 360-degree ability. It has no front or back. The Tiger can retract its legs to travel with all-wheel-drive. But if the terrain becomes too difficult then the legs stretch out to walk the Tiger over impossible surfaces. There is an electric motor at each wheel. Assisting Hyundai with the development of the Tiger was Autodesk. 

Robotics and artificial intelligence are a means to diversify the company

Hyundai TIGER autonomous robot platform
The platform for the Hyundai TIGER autonomous robot concept | Hyundai

Hyundai made news last year of its intention to explore other forms of transportation. It is currently working on a drone-like transporter that can act as an urban taxi of sorts. Robotics and artificial intelligence are a means to diversify the company. It wants to specialize in future mobility.

Last year it set up the New Horizons Studio in Mountain View, California. Then it acquired an 80% controlling interest in Boston Dynamics which for years has specialized in robotics. Tech hubs have been set up in different countries by Hyundai. These hubs, called Centers for robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences or CRADLE. They’re located in Silicon Valley; Seoul; Tel Aviv, Israel; Berlin; and Beijing. 

Hyundai’s purpose-built vehicles is called the TIGER X-1

Hyundai TIGER autonomous robot concept with legs stretched
Hyundai TIGER autonomous robot concept | Hyundai

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This is the second of Hyundai’s purpose-built vehicles it calls the TIGER X-1. It expands on the “Elevate” concept vehicle that was first shown at the 2019 CES Show in Las Vegas. The Elevate is a similar transporter but for people. It is like a walking car and has four legs and wheels attached to a pod that houses passengers. 

The Elevate was developed in conjunction with design firm Sundberg-Ferar. It is envisioned as an aid to carry passengers in the event of a natural disaster. The TIGER, on the other hand, is unmanned. Though hard to tell in this configuration it would be too small for humans. Hyundai sees this small size as an advantage because it makes for easier traveling through a natural disaster situation. It could deliver supplies, medicine, or maybe food. 

This could easily be scaled up should the need arise

Hyundai TIGER autonomous robot concept up close
Hyundai TIGER autonomous robot concept | Hyundai

Its obvious use would be someplace like the moon or Mars and looks like that is what it really is meant for. The small size means it can be flown into a restricted area, or onto a planet, by a rocket or drone. Depending on whether it is terrestrial or extraterrestrial, of course. And it could easily be scaled up should the need arise for specific applications. 

One of the overriding ideas during development was that it could be made through 3D printing techniques currently available. That means they’re cheap, strong, but also lightweight. We can envision a kit with components and a 3D printer that could be set up anywhere. Once turned on it could start cranking out Tigers as long as components hold out. Hyundai is also looking at a variation of the Tiger that could be utilized as a wheelchair-like assist for the handicapped. The possibilities are seemingly endless.