Hyundai's New Mobile Eccentric Droid Looks Perfect For Baby Yoda

Someone at Hyundai has been watching The Mandalorian. The automaker has revealed its new Mobile Eccentric Droid or MobED. It looks like a wheeled version of the crib Baby Yoda* uses in the incredibly popular Disney+ series The Mandalorian. However, there are some key differences. Most notably, the baby hauling carriage has a frame and wheels rather than floating around as the crib does in the show.

*Yes, "Baby Yoda" is not technically the correct name for the Star Wars character that first appeared in the first season of The Mandalorian (also called "The Child" and later given a more specific, proper name). But barring giving away all the secrets and reveals of that series to those that haven't yet seen said series, we're going with the most common nickname: Baby Yoda.

One of the key features of MobED is that it uses four wheels that can move independently for improved agility and navigation capability. Essentially, the wheel design can offer four-wheel steering, and the wheels can all turn to allow MobED to rotate 360 degrees while staying in place. In addition, Hyundai says the device has applications for manned and unmanned versions.

Those four articulating wheels are attached to a chassis that's very flat and rectangular. Each wheel has independent suspension allowing it to move through complex environments by adjusting the wheelbase and steering angles. MobED also has integrated steering, braking, and altitude control systems allowing it to assume the ideal posture for whatever road surface it's operating on.

Each of the four wheels has three motors providing power, steering, and control of the system's posture. The posture control system uses an eccentric mechanism and can stabilize the vehicle's body by adjusting the ride height of each wheel individually. In addition, each of those wheels has 12-inch pneumatic tires designed to help further absorb bumps and vibration as it operates.

MobED is 67 centimeters long, 60 centimeters wide, 33 centimeters high, and weighs 50 kilograms. The maximum width of the wheelbase can be extended to 65 centimeters providing stability for high-speed driving, and can be reduced to 45 centimeters for complicated environment navigation. The robot can travel at a maximum speed of 30 km/h with an electric driving range of about four hours per charge of the 2 kWh battery pack.

Hyundai envisions several usage scenarios for MobED, including a stroller or leisure vehicle. However, the automaker does say it could be used as a mobility device for the disabled or the elderly if scaled up to sufficient size to allow people to ride it. In one of Hyundai's images, we also see the system carrying a large display in portrait orientation.

That would indicate it can also be used as a type of mobile advertising platform or as a roaming autonomous system to allow people to check flight schedules, weather reports, or perform other tasks without talking to a person. Hyundai plans to be on hand at CES 2022, kicking off early next month. MobED and other devices showing off its robotics vision will be on display at its event.

Other Hyundai News

Typically when we talk about Hyundai, we're talking about motor vehicles of one type or another. Earlier this month, the automaker showed off its Ioniq 5 EV featuring rear-wheel drive. For many people, an EV with rear-wheel drive is the preferred style as most states don't need the all-weather capability of all-wheel drive, and RWD EVs typically consume less power equating to a longer driving range.

Hyundai's Ioniq 5 is a very attractive electric crossover that will come to the US, featuring a 77.4 kWh long-range battery pack and versions with either a single electric motor or dual electric motors. The more recently announced flavor is a version with a 58 kWh battery and rear-wheel drive utilizing a single 168 horsepower electric motor as the entry-level version. Hyundai also talked about pricing for that base level model starting at $39,700 before any tax credits, making the price after credits about $33,424.

This month, the EPA has also announced the official driving range with the 2022 Ioniq 5 EV, and it was better than Hyundai expected. The single motor rear-wheel-drive version utilizing a 77.4 kWh battery pack received an EPA rating of 303 miles per charge.

While Hyundai, like most other automakers, is moving towards electrification heavily, it still has traditional combustion-powered vehicles. Not long ago, it revealed the 2022 Tucson XRT. It's a version of the SUV with a more rugged look on the outside. Tucson XRT is offered in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions. The former starts at $32,625, while the latter starts at $34,125. Both prices include Hyundai's $1225 destination charge.

The XRT version of the Tucson is only available with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Other versions of the Tucson are offered with hybrid and plug-in hybrid options. The standard hybrid features a 1.6-liter turbo engine paired with a 44.2 kWh electric motor and battery to produce a total of 226 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

The plug-in hybrid version has a larger 13.8 kWh battery pack and promises an all-electric driving range of 28 miles. Hyundai equips the plug-in hybrid with a standard six-speed automatic, while the regular hybrid features a CVT.