Hyundai Motor is coming to CES 2022 with a couple of new concepts:  ‘Metamobility’ and the Mobility of Things (MoT). According to the automaker, the Mobility of Things (MoT) will provide “movement of traditionally inanimate objects through the company’s robotics technology.” 

Metamobility is a concept that encapsulates Hyundai’s vision for the future of robotics and mobility, in which mankind will develop a device-metaverse connection to expand mobility to virtual reality (VR). According to Hyundai, robots “will act as a medium between the real world and virtual spaces, enabling users to make changes in the metaverse to be reflected in reality.

“The idea behind Metamobility is that space, time, and distance will all become irrelevant. By connecting robots to the metaverse, we will be able to move freely between both the real world and virtual reality,” said Euisun Chung, the Group’s Executive Chair, during his presentation, “Going one step further from the immersive ‘be there’ proxy experience that the metaverse provides, robots will become an extension of our own physical senses, allowing us to reshape and enrich our daily lives with Metamobility.”

We all hope that humans will still be relevant in this bright future!

Following Hyundai’s recent acquisition of Boston Dynamics for nearly $1 billion ($880M), Hyundai Motor focused its announcements on robotics and unveiled a range of robots at CES 2022.

Hyundai showcased the Plug & Drive (PnD) modular platform, an intelligent mobility solution that combines steering, braking, in-wheel electric drive, and suspension hardware.

Thanks to its steering actuator, the single-wheel device can turn 360 degrees, a feature that allows holonomic movement, so the unit acts as a figure skater. As shown in the photo below, the PnD is equipped with LiDAR and camera sensors for autonomous motion.

A PnD module with a 5.5 inch wheel

A PnD module with a 5.5 inch wheel

A broad range of objects or platforms can attach to the PnD modules, from tables to containers, and users will be able to choose various drive configurations and unit sizes.

Dong Jin Hyun, Ph.D., VP and Head of Robotics Lab, Hyundai Motor, and Nicole Scott, Producer, Beyond Innovation on stage.

“The PnD Module is adaptive and expandable to match human needs. Because in the world to come, you won’t move your things — they will move around you,” said Dong Jin Hyun, VP and Head of Robotics Lab, Hyundai Motor. “PnD makes normally inanimate objects mobile. It’s this ability that makes changing practically any space possible. It’s a way to configure spaces on demand.”

Hyun mentioned how office spaces could be configured and reconfigured on-demand, so people always work in an optimal environment designed for a specific project.

CES offers Hyundai the opportunity to demonstrate four PnD concepts reflecting several aspects of MoT, including Personal Mobility, Service Mobility, Logistics Mobility, and L7 (a modified Personal Mobility pod).

Personal Mobility

Service Mobility

Logistics Mobility

Such wheeled platforms can be customized into any other kind of MoT module. Although Hyundai talked about four applications, they point out that MoT possibilities are unlimited.

For example, the Personal Mobility concept is a cabin on four PnD modules. It could transport someone over short distances controlled by a simple joystick, no pedal or steering wheel required. Personal Mobility modules could be envisioned attaching and detaching from a “mother shuttle” for efficient “last-mile” transportation.

Below, the L7 concept pushes things to the extreme and features 12-inch PnD modules, and shows how another, more comfortable, type of Personal Mobility design could be envisioned.

At the roundtable after the conference, Dong Jin Hyun, VP, and Head of Robotics Lab at Hyundai Motor, and Marc Raibert, Chairman and Founder of Boston Dynamics, explained, among other things, that next-gen robots will not replace human workers but instead will enhance human capabilities to help unlock millions of new employment opportunities. During the session, I was wondering when we will see PnDs in our streets or if we would have to build new cities around that concept…

The L7 personal mobility concept

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