Hyundai showcases robotic future at CES

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Hyundai Motor Co. is leveraging its robotics expertise to develop scalable mobility platforms that can employ a single module to move a video screen across the room or multiple units to create a personal transportation pod for short distances.

That includes the use of robots to bridge the gap between the real world and virtual-reality scenarios like the metaverse, where users employ VR goggles to interact in a virtual space, Hyundai said at the CES show Tuesday.

“With the metaverse set to become a daily space for people in the future, the company expects the possible emergence of a new type of metaverse platform in which the distinction from reality could disappear, breaking away from the concept of VR as the world knows it today,” the company said.

Under the concept of “Metamobility,” Hyundai robots would mirror actions taken in the metaverse by moving objects in the real world. For example, when someone in the metaverse moves an object in the virtual space, it can also move within a physical space using robots and specialized software.

“When a user accesses a digital twin of their home in the metaverse while away from their physical home, they will be able to feed and hug a pet in Korea through the use of an avatar robot,” the company said. “This will allow users to enjoy real world experiences through VR.”

The Korean automaker showcased its Plug&Drive (PnD) and Drive&Lift (DnL) modular platforms that allow for autonomous movement of objects and people. The platforms can scale from one module to mutiple units to take on small tasks or big ones.

Hyundai said the platforms are part of the “Mobility of Things (MoT) ecosystem, wherein traditionally inanimate things, from small objects to community spaces, will gain mobility using the company’s robotics technologies.”

Potential applications include providing freedom of movement for people with disabilities, automated logistics, reconfigurable interior space and public transportation with individual compartments for social distancing and last-mile mobility, the company said.

Hyundai Motor also showed the MobED droid, a small mobility platform that uses the DnL module. With one module on each wheel, the MobED can lift the platform up and down, keeping the body of the vehicle level on uneven terrain or across speed bumps, Hyundai said.

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