Where no car has gone before: Hyundai Tiger X1
It’s outlandish. It can boldly go where no car has ever gone before. It’s a redefinition of mobility. Meet the Tiger X1, Hyundai’s concept vehicle that shows us the future today. Plans to start building prototypes could start as soon as 2023.
Like most car brands, Korean car manufacturer Hyundai is reinventing itself as a mobility provider. And that means it is exploring the boundaries of its new company identity. Hyundai built a flying car together with taxi provider Uber.
It was well underway, signing a deal with tech company Apple for joint development of an autonomous driving vehicle, and in 2019 it unveiled the Elevate Concept. That was the sort of car you would expect in the movie ‘War of the Worlds’. It had hips, wheels, and could walk like a lizard.
The Korean car manufacturer has taken the Elevate to another level. With the Tiger X1, it has developed an autonomous robot car on extractable wheels. Its name is an acronym for Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot. It classifies as a UMV or Ultimate Mobility Vehicle.
The Tiger could still access any terrain that would be inaccessible for the most rugged of 4x4s. But since – and in contrast to the Elevate – it cannot carry any passengers, the purpose of this ‘legged’ car is more of scientific nature. Or for rescue and military operations or logistic businesses.
With the Elevate, the Tiger X1 shares its modular platform. That makes it suitable for adaptation of purpose-built add-ons, transforming it into a drone, for example. It is not unthinkable that this crewless robot car, which is not bigger than a suitcase, could be sent in space to investigate the surface of surrounding planets.
Since it can also rotate its wheels, it can move in any direction on the trickiest terrain. And because it can extend its ‘legs’, any obstacle will be tackled due to the raised ground clearance.
‘Re-define transportation and mobility’
The Tiger X1 was created by Hyundai’s – what’s in a name? – New Horizons Studio. “We are constantly looking at ways to rethink vehicle design and development and re-define the future of transportation and mobility,” said John Suh, head of the studio. Prototype building is not infeasible. Hyundai is also the owner of Boston Dynamics, a world leader in mobile robots.
If you want to explore boundaries, you need a science vehicle to do so. That’s very much what the Tiger X1 is all about.