Hyundai Motor envisions an interactive and partially virtual future it calls “metamobility,” in which a variety of robotic devices interact with humans to provide a wide range of mobility services, from automated personal transport to remote control of robots in factories.
Hyundai executives, led by Chief Executive Euisun Chung, elaborated on the vision during a press conference at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Buzzwords aside, Hyundai plans to leverage its growing expertise in robotics and artificial intelligence to build a future mobility network that connects humans in the real world with objects and tasks in the virtual world.
The concept is linked to the so-called metaverse, a term coined 30 years ago by author Neal Stephenson, but which recently gained attention when social media company Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms Inc.
It refers to shared virtual environments. world that people can access through the Internet and that they can use virtual reality or augmented reality. Hyundai offered several examples of how it could connect the metaverse and the real world:
– A vehicle that can be transformed into a work space or an entertainment room that includes a 3D video game platform.
– A “smart” factory where humans outside the plant remotely control robots that interact with machines and products inside the plant.
– Automated personal transportation devices for people with disabilities or individuals who want to maintain social distances while traveling.
To make all this work, the automaker said it was building a Mobility of Things ecosystem that will link modular robotic platforms to perform different mobility services.
One module called Plug & Drive or PnD is a single-wheel robotics platform that combines intelligent steering, braking and suspension with in-wheel electric drive, cameras and lidar sensors for automated operation.
For larger logistics tasks and other mobility services, Hyundai can bundle four PnD modules, including one application that pairs with a robot dog called – what else? – Spot.