Hyundai mobis has taken a step forward in the direction of the maneuverability of electric vehicles. After unveiling a concept at CES 2018, the company completed a working prototype of the smart wheel. Its features are truly unique: it is an "all in one" wheel, which combines steering, braking, electric drive and suspension systems. Each wheel in such a system is the brain of the whole vehicle. The type of assembly promises to give vehicles the flexibility to maneuver freely around obstacles and exit laterally even from the tightest parking spaces.
A promise kept
When Hyundai Mobis first announced the e-Corner Module (this is the name of the system) in 2018, it planned to complete development by 2021. Mission accomplished: just this week it revealed the first fully functional prototypes developed for the next few years. tests and improvements.
How does it work?
The e-Corner essentially “shatters” the traditional construction of propulsion, transmission and engine, combining all acceleration, braking, suspension and steering functions into single wheel units, positioned at the four corners of the vehicle. The mechanical connections for these systems are eliminated by a digital “by-wire” control, which allows any kind of flexibility in the design and simplifies maintenance and repair.
The new e-Corner modules feature improved rotation compared to Hyundai's initial planes, offering all the 90 degrees needed for the vehicle to move sideways, or rotate in place. This capability will allow vehicles to cross and park in much tighter spaces and if Hyundai pairs the e-Corners with a range of articulated robotic legs, we will see how much vehicles can be on-road and off-road.
Hyundai Mobis plans to use e-corners with electric vehicles and says they are a cornerstone of Hyundai's purpose-built vehicle (PBV) plans as a key part of its smart city of the future. Self-driving multipurpose PBVs will be able to perform many types of specific mobility tasks, moving both people and goods.
Next steps for the smart wheel
Hyundai Mobis will now focus on developing a “platform” module for use with the e-Corner wheel by 2023, before packing everything for launch into a mobility solution in 2025. The company plans to provide the “smart wheel” also to customers who want to integrate it to convert their vehicles.