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Hyundai, Autodesk partner to design ‘walking car’

DUBAI, October 22, 2020

Autodesk is working with Hyundai to help turn its futuristic “Elevate” all-terrain vehicle into a reality through the use of advanced Generative Design technologies.

Hyundai’s New Horizons Studio believes that the combination of driven wheels and powered legs will result in ground vehicles with unprecedented locomotion capabilities.

The Hyundai Elevate ultimate mobility vehicle (UMV) concept’s sure-footed ability to navigate irregular ground provides the versatility required during rescue situations, such as after an earthquake

A unique mobility solution–something that drives and walks–presents immensely difficult design and engineering challenges. One of the most common amongst these is a never-ending quest in the transportation industry: create components that are lighter, but stronger, than past generations of similar components.

Designers and engineers tasked with these “lightweighting” challenges frequently look to futuristic materials such as metallic foams, carbon fiber and new metal alloys, along with modern design techniques such as generative design, for solutions. These are areas where Autodesk’s tools and expertise excel, so Hyundai turned to Autodesk for input.

Hyundai’s New Horizons Studio believes that the combination of driven wheels and powered legs will result in ground vehicles with unprecedented locomotion capabilities. The studio aims to contribute to Hyundai Motor Group’s core automotive business as it seeks to expand into new markets that enhance transportation on and off the road. Accordingly, being guided by an executive with a robust imagination, informed by the megahitrobots-that-become-cars toys of the ‘80s, is probably a strategic advantage.

Elevate has the ability to transform from a four-wheeled, car-like vehicle into a four-legged, reptilian walking machine, giving it the ability to traverse terrain that’s inaccessible to even the most capable off-road vehicles. When originally debuted, it was heralded for its ability to climb walls, cross diverse terrains and approach barriers, all while keeping its body and passengers completely level.

Uses for such a vehicle include irregular-ground transport needs, surface exploration, search and rescue emergencies, and clearing the significant transportation hurdles some mobility-impaired individuals face daily.

“Generative design helps the human mind expand the range of possibilities,” said John Suh, Hyundai’s founding director of the New Horizons Studio. “With the help of generative design, a single designer or engineer can go through perhaps dozens or hundreds of different design iterations, so it enables them to see things that they may not have otherwise considered, and in tandem tackle complex problems. Which is to say that people still have a very important role to play in shaping the design direction. There will always be need for the human eye, the heart, and the soul as vital parts of the design process.”

In the case of the Elevate concept vehicle, high-torque electric motors are at each joint of the “legs.” This requires structural components be strong and rigid .But vehicle handling and payload requirements demand they, and the in-motor driven wheels, which are the “feet” of the vehicle, be lightweight. To achieve these and other goals, particularly with the international presence of Hyundai, a design and engineering toolset that makes it easy to share across teams, companies and continents is mandatory.

“More than 10 years ago, we identified the pain points, rework required and loss of valuable information when projects move from one phase to the next and the associated files don’t play nicely in the heterogenous environments organizations so often use,” said Srinath Jonnalagadda, vice president of design and manufacturing at Autodesk.

“Creating a design and engineering platform that helps remove those hurdles, while also putting advanced capabilities such as generative design tools at the fingertips of designers, has been our North Star for a decade. The Elevate project is a showcase of how leaders like Hyundai can now enjoy the fruits of that vision.”   

Elevate exists only as a 5:1 scale prototype at this point, so it remains to be seen what’ll come of this fascinating and futuristic Hyundai project. Nevertheless, wrapped in its Transformer-inspired trappings are examples of the potential benefits offered today by a platform that breaks down barriers between design, engineering and manufacturing; makes broad collaboration seamless by standardizing data; and gives teams access to a state-of-the-art, cloud-powered new process like generative design. – TradeArabia News Service
 




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