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The Silicon Valley Hyundai engineering team that works on Elevate, a walking concept car, is continually coached as if they’re on a perennial diet. Attention to weight is the team’s marching orders: If someone specs a connector to send a signal, it raises automatic questions about if a wireless signal is sufficient. It’s the same design mentality for fasteners—use glue or explore parts consolidation—and even reconsider paint when it’s possible to substitute dyed plastic.
The team, part of Hyundai Motor’s CRADLE corporate venturing and open innovation business, is designing a new class of electric ultimate mobility vehicles (UMVs) from a blank slate with the goal of shaving 500 kg from conventionally-designed vehicles of a similar size. Elevate, along with the Tiger cargo transport variation revealed in February, must climb a 5-foot wall, walk over diverse terrain and drive at standard highway speeds—all while keeping its body and passengers level.
With such specific objectives, lightweighting is one of the bedrock design strategies, and generative design tools paired with additive manufacturing (AM) technologies have become a invaluable staple.