GMC made a big splash with the Hummer EV pickup and its “CrabWalk” function when it launched in 2021. Designed to navigate tight turns and give the massive vehicle more agility—especially when off-roading—the CrabWalk feature generated a lot of buzz but didn’t seem to boost sales.
Hyundai Mobis (the automaker’s dedicated supplier and technology partner) took the ball and ran with it, unveiling its updated Mobion concept this week at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with a cool trick called the “e-Corner System.” In essence, the automaker took the idea of four-wheel steering and stepped it up a few notches, giving the Mobion the ability to rotate its wheels 90 degrees. It can move diagonally, laterally, or pivot around with four small electric motors inside each wheel.
The company calls the system "In-Wheel" technology, also equipping each wheel with braking, steering, and suspension functions. It's not new, we previously covered the first iteration of Mobis that debuted during CES 2023, but the company is calling this the next-gen version with some improvements.
In videos from the CES show, you’ll see the Mobion (which is basically an Ioniq 5 on a high-tech bender) spinning around in a tight circle as if it’s on a turntable. It can scoot sideways, negating all hand-wringing anxiety about parallel parking. The rear end can sweep around like you’re kicking off a slo-mo drift session. Next, we'll expect it to start moonwalking.
Mobis also showed off its autonomous driving sensor and lamp technologies. On the autonomous side, the company integrated two short-distance light detection and ranging (lidar) devices by the headlights and a long-distance lidar front and center.
Its ground projection feature can light the way for pedestrians, generating crosswalk stripes and indicating Mobion’s direction of travel. Vehicles behind a Mobion are alerted to pedestrians ahead with another LED, which may prevent drivers from passing or changing lanes when humans could be in danger.
At this juncture, the Korean automaker hasn’t commented on whether these features will go to market or not. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see something like this in the near future.
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