Tech

Hyundai envisions a future where robots whisk everyone around

Imagine a world… where people ride their own individual robo-pods without ever needing to set foot on the ground.

Hyundai presented such a world this week at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas. Of course in this future the cellphone screens are see-through.

The Korean carmaker announced its acquisition of the robotics company Boston Dynamics just before last year’s CES, and is clearly all-in on robots. This presentation previewed the company’s ideas for personal mobility, public transportation, and even public safety and health.

In under two minutes, Hyundai’s video presents an integrated system of transit robots where you can step into your single-seat robot pod in your living room, proceed to slide down the side of a residential building, and then link your pod up to a “shuttle” of fellow pods on the city streets. We then see the concept as it applies to hospital transportation, including an ambulance pod that links up with a modular, futuristic hospital. (We at Mashable sincerely hope the woman shown at the start of the video is OK by the end!)

But is Hyundai really the company that’s going to redefine mobility for the robot era? The Plug & Drive (PnD) modular robots were presented not as retail products, but as concepts that are part of Hyundai’s “Expanding Human Reach” idea. But it’s worth noting that Boston Dynamics’ Spot is a very real robo-dog that has learned choreographed dance moves, and that’s something you can actually buy.

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