Spot and the rest of the Boston Dynamics family may get all the attention, but Hyundai has a robotics division separate from the firm it acquired earlier in the year. This week, the automaker unveiled the Mobile Eccentric Droid or MobED, a new mobility platform for taking on even the trickiest surfaces and uneven ground.
The company’s Robotics Lab says it developed MobED to overcome the limitations of existing indoor and service robots. Each of the robot’s wheels features independent power and steering control systems that allow it to rotate in place and move in any direction. It also has an eccentric drive system, hence the name, that allows it to independently adjust the height of each of its wheels. As you can see from the video, that means it can provide a stable platform for something as delicate as glass.
MobED can expand its wheelbase up to about 25 inches when it needs as much stability as possible. It can also contract to about 17 inches when it finds itself in more complex environments. All told, the platform is approximately 26 inches long, 23 inches wide and 13 inches tall. A 2 kWh battery allows the robot to drive for approximately four hours on a single charge.
Outside of working as a service robot, Hyundai envisions MobED helping out in places like the movie industry where film crews could mount their equipment to the platform. It could also be used for deliveries and other purposes where stability is essential. We’ll get a chance to see more of the robot when Hyundai demos it at CES 2022 next month. However, the company hasn't said if it plans to commercialize MobED.
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