When the automotive industry, robotics and the metaverse meet, Metamobility is born. Word of Hyundai, which at CES in Las Vegas unveiled its strategy based on the “Expanding Human Reach” concept, where robotics will act as a means to connect the virtual world and the real one, shaping and transforming the mobility of the future in all its meanings . Including that of objects, for which Hyundai coined the definition Mobility of Things (MoT).
Virtual is real
“The idea behind Metamobility is that space, time and distance will become irrelevant – Explains Chang Song, President and Head of Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) Division of Hyundai Motor Group – Connecting robots to the metaverse , we will be able to move freely between the real world and virtual reality. “In short, if the metaverse itself provides an immersive but only simulated experience,” robots will become an extension of our own physical senses – adds Song – allowing us to reshape and enrich our daily life “.
The idea is fascinating: in a hyper-connected world, robots could therefore become our avatars in the physical world, to be guided remotely wherever we are, once we enter the Metaverse. Let’s take an example: you are traveling, far from your home, but you have to feed the cat: in Hyundai’s vision, one day you will be able to access a perfect digital copy of your home in the metaverse, where you can take control of a capable robot. feed and hug your pet, perhaps on the other side of the world.
The car protagonist at the Consumer Electronics Show
by Vincenzo Borgomeo
Something very similar can happen in the factory: one day production facilities could allow specialists to remotely connect to all machines and tools within the factory, to perform tasks remotely. In this case, a worker could interact with a robotic avatar in the metaverse, via VR interface and hand controls, to remotely and precisely manipulate things in the real world.
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Nasce la Mobility of Things
And if all this may already seem incredible, this is just the beginning: Hyundai has also presented its modular platforms Plug & Drive (PnD che) and Drive & Lift (DnL), all-in-one solutions for the Mobility of Things (MoT), which use LiDar sensors and cameras to read the environment and move around it. Together, they can be used to make mobile (and therefore also remotely controlled via the Metaverse) objects that are normally inanimate, from small artifacts to common spaces.
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A “pod” for everyone
Hyundai imagines that these solutions will be used in the future for example to facilitate the movement of people with disabilities, to automate logistics, even to create reconfigurable interior spaces (for example with furniture and chairs that move and move to meet every need). And then, again, to create a different type of public transport, with individual compartments for social distancing and mobility of the last mile. To clarify: imagine an automated bus driven by Artificial Intelligence that transports isolated passengers in single cabins (or “pods”). Once arrived at their destination, the passenger does not get off, but is carried by the pod along the last stretch of the road, up the building and into the apartment, where the cabin is placed until the next exit.
MobED, the hi-tech tray
“In the world to come, we will not move our things, but things will move around us by themselves thanks to the PnD module, which makes traditionally inanimate objects mobile,” explains Dong Jin Hyun, Vice President and Head of Hyundai Robotics Lab. Always during the presentation event in Las Vegas, the Korean company also showed the small mobility platform MobED (Mobile Eccentric Droid, presented in December) which uses the DnL module, an eccentric wheel mechanism that combines drive systems, steering and brake in one platform.
With DnL mounted on each wheel, MobEd can raise and lower the platform, so the body can stay level while MobEd traverses uneven ground or low clutter like steps or bumps. In practice, a robot with 4 independent wheels (each with three motors), which weighs 50 kilograms, has a 2 kWh battery and reaches 30 km / h. It was created to transport packages and small and medium-sized objects: looking at it, it seems little more than an automated and super-technological “tray”, but it is not impossible that, in the future, it will also act as a basis for the development of new means of transport ” all-terrain “.
Finally, Hyundai is also a car manufacturer: in the vision shared at Ces 2022, the Korean company imagines that cars and vehicles for urban air mobility will also be used as access devices to the metaverse. In this way, passengers now free from the anxiety of driving thanks to autonomous driving, will be able to use the passenger compartment as a meeting room for working, as an entertainment space and to play video games with an immersive experience.