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Hyundai thinks out of the box with hovering cars and transforming vehicles


April 23, 2013

The multi-rotor car can fly above traffic

The multi-rotor car can fly above traffic

Image Gallery (12 images)

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.

Source: Hyundai

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Sometimes I wonder what the color of the sky is in the world these designers live in. Exposed rotors AND flying over traffic? Can't wait until someone sticks a hand in or flies right into a power line.

My concept will use metallic hydrogen. It only needs a tank capable of holding 3 million psi. Surely just as plausible as exposed rotors on a car.


@voiceofreason: Ever seen a helicopter ... with exposed rotors?

Still, I agree that flying cars are not going to happen as long as they need to be piloted by ordinary people. Flying is kind of unforgiving to all sorts of errors. Ask me how I know. It would raise the 'road kill' numbers dramatically, if these became mainstream.


I believe that sound waves will levitate and will be the future of travel

Stewart Mitchell

Driving on the ground is also unforgiving. Looking at accident statistics, I dont think flying cars would add much to the overall large counts. The point I see here is there is a lot of moving this and that part to make new things but whats really coming out of it? If you can create a device to drive a car with your mind, then why put it on an altering trike instead of a real car? if you can make flying cars, why not use gyrostabilization and vector thrust from an internal engine (no exposed props) for flight? There is moving forward with designs and then there is taking a lot of side steps ...


Yes Martin I have, but typically the rotors are ABOVE the vehicle, not arrayed in a fashion that I can drop my cell phone or an arm into.


No matter what the form of lift, the flying will have to be done autonomously. And doubtfully very more than several lanes high.


These cars have there place, street sweeper,mower,slice and dice and a great way to get dust in your eyes. Oh and a great source of noise.

Jay Finke

This article wants me to believe that real world, today educated and graduated engineers actually believe this is going to come to be? How can I stop laughing. Gizmag should more stories about one wheel motorcycles and hoover cars that will no doubt be the new rave in the future. From planet "Deluded".


These are great ideas, but for my money I'd prefer a passenger-carrying minivan that converts easily to cargo mode by having the seats fold into the floor; and that then can convert to a compact pickup truck. It doesn't have to be electric, it would be nice if it was powered by a turbodiesel.

William Lanteigne

Of course I love all of the innovative ideas here. Hover cars would be cool yet likely impractical on crowded city streets.

All of the dirt, dust and garbage flying over the bystanders. They would be more suited to open freeways and rural roads.

Just imagine 100 or so of these tailgating at 70 MPH and trying to stop at a traffic jam back up.

Also I think you should forget about any real "flying" commuter car. No way will the government ever let the common man have those on the market.

That would be a security nightmare for civilian and military properties world wide.

Fences and barricades would be obsolete over night. How safe would you feel if your enemy or any crazy nut job could take a flying car and glide right onto the runway in front of your plane as is takes off or worse drop in at the local schoolyard.

No commercial or private property would be safe from trespassing, theft or vandalism. Including sensitive high security areas like reservoirs, power plants and water sheds.

We would all have to string giant nets over our property to protect it. I realize this may be a bit extreme for examples but they are all valid point to ponder.



Thank goodness we don't ask the general public about offering new innovations like flying cars. Everyone wants the freedom they could offer, but worry about everyone else driving. No one said they have to fly over 2' to 3' feet off the ground. Without a need for expensive roads, every open field, river and canal become an alternate through-way, traffic disappears! We Americans need to become more optimistic about a better possible future. Do you think China will suppress the first viable flying car? That would allow them to overcome one thing they lack due to decades of communism, almost no interstate highway infrastructure. The entire country becomes connected and accessible with flying cars and no amount of hand wringing from US Urban-bound worker bees will stop them. How many of you worry about the Governments drone program possibly over your house? That should be your first concern, but it should never be a freedom the government has that we don't.

David Carambat

Until the air vehicles can collide without raining debris I don't want every moron on the road driving an air vehicle.


don't see Detroit doing anything like this, wonder why? Love Hyundai thinking, Mavericks

Stephen Russell

A "hovercar" is not an advance. What we need is VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing). Few people seem to even consider the advantages of such technology: (1) The use of new materials such as carbon fiber, graphene, and similar materials such as aerogel, can make the vehicle extremely lightweight and crash resistant (2) GPS and crash avoidance are simple tasks for non-hacked computer systems (will require a preliminary era of serious criminal treatment of hackers) (3) No roads, bridges or tunnels needed--this alone is worth the development of VTOL (4) New fuels with high power density, presently studiously ignored, such as BlackLight Power and others, will provide abundant compact fuel sources (5) Any vehicle manufacturer using VTOL goes to the head of the class!

Jay Dillon

It seems to me that most of the people commenting here seemed to miss the aim of this competition: "....evaluated based on creativity, technology, fun and relevance to the contest theme"

Note that relevance were mentioned last. These were all highly creative, high-tech fun projects. The aim of the competition was not to produce a market ready alternative form of transport. The purpose was to stimulate creativity, have some cross pollination of ideas and most importantly have FUN. Notice how many people are smiling in the pictures.



The real engineering challenge is solving the one major weakness that has plagued self-driven ground transportation since the invention of the automobile: the nut behind the wheel. We have ignition locks that can prevent an individual exceeding a legal blood alcohol limit from starting a car. Now all we need is a brain scan device that wouldn't allow morons to drive. Just think of how far such an innovation would go to relieve highway congestion!

Leon Duminiak

lets just get the thing built then we'll worry about all those things like air crashes, falling debris, netting, crime etc.

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