Groundbreaking robot ‘TIGER’ can walk on four legs through deadly environments

Engineers have unveiled an unmanned robotic vehicle which can travel on wheels or as a four-legged WALKING machine in the world’s most inhospitable locations.

The ‘Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot, or TIGER, has been designed by Hyundai Motor Group to carry cargo over challenging terrain.

Dubbed the first uncrewed ultimate mobility vehicle (UMV), the concept features a sophisticated leg and wheel locomotion system, 360-degree directional control, and a range of sensors for remote observation.

The high-tech machine will also be able to connect to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can fully charge and deliver it to inaccessible locations.

TIGER is being developed by Hyundai Motor Group’s New Horizons Studio, headquartered in Mountain View, California.

Dr. John Suh, Head of New Horizons Studio, said: “Vehicles like TIGER, and the technologies underpinning it, give us an opportunity to push our imaginations.

“We are constantly looking at ways to rethink vehicle design and development and re-define the future of transportation and mobility.”

TIGER’s capabilities are designed to function as a mobile scientific exploration platform in extreme, remote locations and potentially on the moon.

A large load bay housed within its body means TIGER can carry goods for delivery or be deployed to deliver aid packages in emergency situations.

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Leg-wheel articulation enables the vehicle to tackle a range of extreme situations while keeping payloads more level than a typical ground vehicle.

With its legs retracted, it drives like an all-wheel drive vehicle and is in its most efficient mode because it moves by rolling traction.

But when the vehicle gets stuck or needs to travel over terrain that is difficult or impassable for wheels alone, it uses its walking ability to get unstuck or more easily travel over that terrain.

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This was a feature previously seen in Elevate, Hyundai Motor Group’s first-ever UMV concept with moveable legs, which debuted at the 2019 Consumer Electronic Show (CES).

UMV concepts in development do not rely solely on wheels and are expected to address challenging driving situations.

For example, a car with robotic legs could save lives as the first responder in natural disasters, or people without access to a curb ramp could hail a car to walk up to their front door, level itself and allow wheelchairs to roll in.

Like Elevate, Hyundai's other transforming four leg-wheel ground vehicle, TIGER shares similar characteristics such as its legs and wheels.

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Both TIGER and Elevate blend robotic and wheeled locomotion technologies, allowing them to traverse terrain beyond the limitations of even the most capable off-road vehicle.

New Horizons Studio was set up by Hyundai to shape the future of mobility and bring onboard forward-thinking, innovative leadership from Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs.

They have been working with Autodesk and Sundberg-Ferar on the TIGER concept.

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