Hyundai, Kia Expands Robotics Venture Beyond Wearable Tech
It was almost two years ago when Hyundai showcased its Hyundai Medical Exoskeleton (H-MEX) at the 2017 International Consumer Electronics Show, aiding elderly people and paraplegics in relatively hard human movement, such as walking and traversing stairs. It was ahead of its time and relatively successful, as it is currently in the process of being approved by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in Korea, and by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for commercialization as a medical device.
The South Korean marque, together with its sister company Kia Motors, is looking to expand its wearable robotic technology into something useful to industrial applications and even micro-mobility. Dubbed as the Hyundai Vest Exoskeleton (H-VEX) and Hyundai Chairless Exoskeleton (H-CEX), these two wearable robotic technologies are made to assist the workers in automobile production.
H-VEX is a device that relieves pressure on workers’ neck and back by adding 132 pounds (60 kilograms) of strength to the user when their arms are used overhead. H-CEX, on the other hand, is a knee-joint protective device that helps maintain a worker’s sitting position. It only weighs 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg) yet it can support up to 331 lbs (150 kg) of weight.
H-CEX is currently being tested and demonstrated at the Hyundai-Kia North American factory. H-VEX will follow suit, and the South Korean marque plans to test the viability and effectiveness of both robotic tech by the end of 2018.
Hyundai Motor Group is also developing the Hyundai Universal Medical Assist (HUMA) further, alongside H-VEX and H-CEX. This can be applied to the waist and legs to strengthen the muscles for walking, enabling the user to run up to 7.5 miles per hour (12 kilometers per hour). Sounds familiar?
Aside from the wearables, Hyundai is also making robots to improve the quality of life. Theres the Hotel Service Robot, which is quite self-explanatory, as well as the Sales Service Robot that can explain car details to customers who visit dealerships. Lastly, a robotic personal mobility technology is also being developed, which works like a personal transporter.