Hyundai develops plug-and-play EV smart wheel with 90-degree turning
Hyundai Mobis has taken a step toward revolutionizing the maneuverability of electric vehicles. After introducing its e-Corner Module all-in-one wheel concept at CES 2018, Hyundai Motor Group's OEM parts arm has completed a working prototype, combining intelligent steering, braking, electric drive and suspension hardware into a single wheel unit. The bolt-on assembly promises to give vehicles the flexibility to maneuver freely around obstacles and crawl sideways in and out of the tightest parking spaces.
When it first announced the e-Corner Module in 2018, Hyundai Mobis said it planned to complete development by 2021. Mission accomplished, as it revealed the first fully developed working prototypes this week ahead of further testing and refinement. Critical to creating the working prototype was developing the ECU necessary to control the multiple integrated functions.
The e-Corner essentially blows up the traditional construction of powertrain, drivetrain and running gear, combining all accelerating, braking, suspension and steering functions into single wheeled units, placed at all four corners for a traditional four-wheel automobile. Mechanical connections for these systems are eliminated by digital "by-wire" control, which frees up all kinds of flexibility in vehicle design and streamlines maintenance and repair.
The new e-Corner Modules feature enhanced rotation from what Hyundai originally envisioned, offering the full 90 degrees necessary for the vehicle to "crab walk" sideways and turn in place. This capability will allow vehicles to drive through and park in much tighter spaces – and if Hyundai pairs the e-Corners with a set of articulated robot legs, we'll see just how capable vehicles can be on and off road.
Hyundai Mobis plans to use the e-Corners with electric vehicles and says they're a critical element of the Purpose Built Vehicles (PBVs) Hyundai plans as a key part of its smart city of the future. The multipurpose self-driving PBVs will be capable of many types of specific mobility tasks, moving both people and goods.
Hyundai Mobis will now turn its attention to developing a skateboard module for use with the e-Corners by 2023, ahead of packaging it all together with autonomous driving control hardware for launch in a PBV mobility solution in 2025. It also intends to supply e-Corner Modules to customers that want to integrate them in vehicles of their own, something that Israeli startup REE is also working hard on.
The e-Control Modules get to work in real-life (and background animations) on the M.Vision 2Go delivery vehicle concept in the video clip below.
Source: Hyundai Mobis