Hyundai Motor Co envisions an interactive and partly virtual future it calls "metamobility," where a variety of robotic devices interact with humans to provide a broad range of mobility services, from automated individual transportation to remote control of robots in "smart" factories.
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Hyundai executives, led by Chief Executive Euisun Chung, elaborated on that vision in a media briefing at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Buzzwords aside, Hyundai expects to leverage its growing expertise in robotics and artificial intelligence to build out a future mobility network that links human beings in the real world with objects and tasks in the virtual world.
The concept is related to the so-called metaverse , a term coined 30 years ago by author Neal Stephenson, but which gained attention recently when social media company Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms Inc . It refers to shared virtual world environments which people can access via the internet, and which can make use of virtual reality or augmented reality.
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Hyundai offered several examples of how it might link the metaverse and the real world:
- A vehicle that can be transformed into a work space or an entertainment room that includes a 3D video game platform.
- A "smart" factory where humans outside the plant remotely control robots that interact with machines and products inside the plant.
- Automated personal transportation devices for people with disabilities or individuals who want to maintain social distances while traveling.
To make all this work, the automaker said it was building a Mobility of Things ecosystem that will link modular robotic platforms to perform different mobility services.
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One module called Plug & Drive or PnD is a single-wheel robotics platform that combines intelligent steering, braking and suspension with in-wheel electric drive, cameras and lidar sensors for automated operation.
For larger logistics tasks and other mobility services, Hyundai can bundle four PnD modules, including one application that pairs with a robot dog called - what else? - Spot.