Hyundai showcased an extraordinary piece of work – a vehicle with robotic legs that has the ability to walk or crawl over treacherous terrain.

Photo Credit: Robyn Beck/ AFP

Hyundai showed off its Elevate project on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show gadget extravaganza, billing it an unprecedented “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle” that combines technology from electric cars with robotics.

Elevate is designed with four mechanical legs with wheels for feet, according to a small-scale model shown at the press event.

Elevate vehicles can roll along on extended legs or retract them to be driven like a car.

Extended legs could also be used to climb or crawl while keeping the passenger compartment level, according to David Byron of Sundberg-Ferar, an industrial design consultancy, which is working with Hyundai on the project.

Elevate can climb over walls as high as five feet (1.5 meters) while keeping the vehicle body level with the ground, Byron said.

Scenario:

An Elevate stuck in snow on a roadside could get up and walk back to lanes of traffic, or the vehicle could be put to work exploring other planets.