Hyundai is looking to the not-too-distant future with its latest project, called the Tiger X-1 Ultimate Mobility Vehicle. Designed by the automaker's forward-looking New Horizons studio – in partnership with the software and design experts at Autodesk and Sundberg-Ferrar – the Tiger X-1 can theoretically deliver parcels and supplies to remote locations without a crew on board to operate the vehicle.
The Tiger (which stands for "Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot") is the second Ultimate Mobility Vehicle from New Horizons, building on the lessons learned from the Hyundai Elevate concept from 2019. Like the Elevate, the Tiger features all-wheel drive, and each wheel is mounted to an articulating subframe, allowing the unmanned cart to climb and walk over obstacles that are too large to drive over. It also gets 360-degree locomotion, meaning the wheels can swivel independently of one another, allowing for forward and side-to-side movement, as well as rotation.
According to Hyundai, the Tiger X-1 was designed to function as a mobile scientific exploration platform, enabling on-the-fly deliveries to extreme, remote locations from more centralized bases. Helping the vehicle in this mission is an unmanned aerial vehicle, which can deliver the Tiger to a suitable drop zone near its destination, as well as recharge the cart if need be. Owing to its modular design, the X-1 can accommodate a variety of cargo bodies, but it is designed to be completely unmanned, unlike the passenger-transport Elevate.
One slightly sinister use, according to Sundberg-Ferrar, is uncrewed surveillance. A camera body would attach to the Tiger, allowing it to do some reconnaissance in "locations not suitable for humans." Hyundai representatives also admitted that some defense and military applications would make sense, helping improve troop safety by undertaking driverless deliveries in hostile territory. The Tiger could also be used to deliver supplies to areas damaged by natural disasters and climate incidents, as well as provide search-and-rescue support.
The Tiger X-1 uses Autodesk's skills in generative design, reducing weight without sacrificing strength. Like the Elevate before it, the Tiger is a study that Hyundai will evaluate for potential use cases, and as the technology to build it becomes more attainable, it's possible the Tiger X-1 will be delivering everything from urban packages to relief aid supplies in the near future.