Hyundai unveiled a new walking car that can traverse hazardous and rough terrain in natural disaster situations -

From a ride to the doctor's office to saving lives in a natural disaster—Hyundai engineers designed the walking car concept from the human perspective.

Didn't we invent cars so we didn't have to walk?

So why did Hyundai debut Elevate—a walking concept vehicle—at CES 2019?

The need for efficient, rapid, resilient transportation for disaster assistance is what led Hyundai to develop the first-ever vehicle with movable legs.

Categorized as an Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV), the Elevate idea addresses the needs of first responders and the immobile. Ultimate mobility refers to the vehicle's ability to climb steps, out of ditches and over hazardous terrain. It can climb a 5-foot wall or over a 5-foot ditch.

Hyundai Elevate is called an ultimate mobility vehicle (UMB). The company sees it as a way to provide autonomous ride-hailing services for those who lack handicap ramps and access.

In short, Hyundai engineers realized you need wheels to get to and fro quickly, but what you can do when you get there may be just as important.

"When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field. They have to go the rest of the way by foot. Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete,” said John Suh, Hyundai vice president and head of Hyundai CRADLE

The Event combines some of the best technology from robotics and electric vehicles (EVs). Designers based the vehicle on a modular EV platform with the capability to switch out different bodies for specific situations.

Hyundai Elevate pictured climbing out of a ditch.

The Event features a leg architecture that touts five degrees of freedom plus wheel hub propulsion motors and is enabled by the latest in electric actuator technology. These robotic advancements allows the vehicle to mimic the walking motions of mammals and reptiles. Meaning it can move in any direction.

Being specifically designed for emergency situations, one might muse that getting to a building at a lizard's pace might not be an advantage. No problem, the vehicle comes with fold-up legs, allowing it to travel at normal speeds on a regular street.

The Hyundai Event is pictured here with the legs folded, allowing it to utilize conventional wheels for normal road travel.

The legs also fold up into a stowed drive-mode, where power to the joints is cut, and the use of an integrated passive suspension system maximizes battery efficiency. This allows Elevate to drive at highway speeds just like any other vehicle.

To see the Elevate in action and get more in-depth info on the vehicle's engineering enhancements, check out the Elevate demo video by clicking here.