Hyundai thinks out of the box with hovering cars and transforming vehicles
By C.C. Weiss
April 23, 2013
Hyundai has been running the IDEA festival, an internal contest to challenge designers and engineers to come up with futuristic transportation solutions, for three years. In preparing for IDEA 2013, Hyundai provides a look at some of the best concepts conceived during IDEA 2012 – everything from flying cars, to egg-shaped transporters, to spare tires that transform into bikes.
For the contest, Hyundai engineers submit their ideas, which are evaluated based on creativity, technology, fun and relevance to the contest theme. Those that make it through the first round put together more formal presentations, then finalists are selected and prototypes built and demonstrated.
This year's contest challenges participants to create designs around the future of customers' needs. Submissions are getting underway this month and the finalists will showcase their products in September.
Judging from last year's finalists, we think that the creations of the IDEA festival are destined to remain ideas – very interesting and cool ideas. Just look at the E4U ( "Egg, Evolution, Electricity and Eco-Friendliness"). The 176-pound (80-kg), one-person car essentially integrated the driver into the design – the top of the egg rests on his head. The car used a single motor for motivation and steering and a "hemisphere design" that allowed the driver to pivot and tilt. It was designed for low speeds (up to 15 mph/24 km/h ) and tight urban corridors.
Other concepts that triumphed in last year's IDEA contest included a multi-rotor flying car designed to commute over top of traffic congestion, a folding electric bike built into a spare tire, and a personal commuter that used voice recognition to transform from car to bike. Another concept vehicle used five joints to provide vastly enhanced maneuverability (see photo above), including a one-meter (3.3-foot) turning radius and the ability to climb stairs.
Those concepts may never get spit off production lines, but it's good to see a manufacturer stimulating creativity, especially when it results in working concepts, as opposed to just artistic renderings.
We have photos of some of the aforementioned designs, but due to a pending rights issue we're unable to publish the video of the concepts in action. You can find that video by searching "Hyundai IDEA 2012" on YouTube or Google, however.