Hyundai And Kia Are Building A Moon Robot

Hyundai and its Kia subsidiary have joined hands with six Korean institutes to develop mobility solutions for the lunar surface. The two automobile makers haven't revealed exactly what kind of robots they are making for future moon missions, but the focus will be on braving the harsh conditions on Earth's sole natural satellite. Interestingly, the artistic rendition shared by Hyundai suggests the team will work on companion quadruped robots like those made by Boston Dynamics, which Hyundai now owns. It is worth noting here that Hyundai has already deployed Boston Dynamic's Spot for factory patrol.

As part of Hyundai and Kia's latest collaboration with research institutes, a consultative body has been created that will put the plans into motion starting in August. The core objective is to "define the concept of lunar exploration mobility" and implement those plans for operations based on the moon, according to Hyundai. The project, which includes participation from both private and government entities, will also serve as a test bed for creating more efficient automobile solutions for Earth, as well.

With the partnership, the company is also seeking to present itself as a candidate for developing robotics and mobility solutions for missions to the moon and beyond in the near future. In an era where space privatization has become a hot buzzword and even the likes of NASA are securing the services of private players like NASA, Hyundai's ambition doesn't appear too far-fetched.

Hyundai has more concepts in the pipeline

Hyundai and Kia's partnership is noteworthy, but it is not the first endeavor of its kind for the South Korean automobile brand. Earlier this month, the company presented Habitat One, a sustainable housing concept for a carbon-free society in the future. The project envisions robots that turn into resting platforms when they detect human motion nearby, a 3D-printed tree that releases oxygen into the surroundings, and numerous other bio-digital concepts for an eco-friendly habitat.

In February 2021, Hyundai also showcased an Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) concept called Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot (TIGER) X-1, a robotic vehicle designed to deliver payloads over extreme terrains. It has a unique leg and wheel locomotion system that offers it 360-degree direction control. The non-crewed machine is targeted at areas struck by natural disasters, but can also be modified to explore the moon's surface.

The company also has a similar concept in active development called Elevate, which Hyundai classifies as "an electric car with robotic legs." Also describes as a walking car, it has wheels mounted on multi-joint legs that are inspired by those of a grasshopper that allow it to climb, jump, and elevate above flowing water.