Hyundai Motor Group today announced the formation of New Horizons Studio, a new unit focused on the development of Ultimate Mobility Vehicles, or UMVs for short.
Throughout history, humankind has shared an innate desire and need to explore new frontiers. New Horizons Studio envisions building vehicles to wander with unprecedented mobility. The products will target customers who have a need for travel in unconventional and off-road terrain, including places where vehicles have never roamed before. These vehicles will be subject to more challenging applications and environments, adaptable to changing conditions. Pushing the boundaries of vehicle development, the unit will re-imagine how vehicles might traverse the world.
New Horizons Studio is led by Vice President Dr. John Suh, who has held several leadership roles at Hyundai Motor Group since 2011. He served as founding director of Hyundai Ventures, and then, led Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences) as its founding director based in Silicon Valley. He brings over 35 years of expertise in the automotive and emerging technology sectors, including roles at Stanford University, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC; formerly, Xerox PARC), and General Motors Company.
“We aim to create the world’s first transformer-class vehicle, also known as the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle,” notes Dr. Suh.
The new unit furthers Hyundai Motor Group’s vision to shape the future of mobility and onboard forward-thinking, innovative leadership from Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs.
Also making the jump to New Horizons Studio is Dr. Ernestine Fu, who joins the group as Director of Product Management. She has led research on human operator and autonomous vehicle interactions at Stanford University’s Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab, as well as scaled emerging technology companies for over nine years as a venture capital partner at Alsop Louie Partners.
The Elevate sits atop a modular EV platform, which allows for the easy installation of different body shells. Each wheel is independently powered, and this, alongside a 15-foot track width, allows the vehicle to move with a “mammalian and reptilian” walking gait.
Unveiled at CES 2019 and also showcased at India’s Auto Expo in February 2020, Hyundai Elevate is the inaugural vehicle concept now being developed by New Horizons Studio. The vehicle does not rely solely on wheels and is 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 who do not have access to an ADA ramp could hail a car to walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow wheelchairs to roll right in. Using a combination of robotics and wheeled locomotion technology, Elevate and other vehicles by New Horizons Studio are expected to redefine vehicular mobility.