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Beyond Cars: Hyundai Says ‘Metamobility’ Will Connect the Real and Virtual Worlds in the Future

Jan. 4 (Reuters) – Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) envisions an interactive and partly virtual future it calls “metamobility,” where a variety of robotic devices interact with humans to provide a wide range of mobility services, from automated individual transport to the remote control of robots in “intelligent” factories.

Hyundai executives, led by chief executive Euisun Chung, developed this vision during a press conference at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Buzzwords aside, Hyundai plans to leverage its growing expertise in robotics and artificial intelligence to build a future mobility network that connects humans in the real world with objects and tasks in the virtual world.

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The concept is tied to the so-called metaverse, a term coined 30 years ago by author Neal Stephenson, but which recently gained attention when social media company Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms Inc (FB .O). It refers to shared virtual world environments that people can access through the internet and that can use virtual reality or augmented reality.

Hyundai offered several examples of how it could link the metaverse and the real world:

– A vehicle that can be transformed into a workspace or an entertainment room that includes a 3D video game platform.

– A “smart” factory where humans from outside the factory remotely control robots that interact with machines and products inside the factory.

– Automated personal transport devices for people with disabilities or people who want to maintain social distances when traveling.

To make this all work, the automaker has said it is building an object mobility ecosystem that will link modular robotic platforms to provide different mobility services.

A module called Plug & Drive or PnD is a single-wheel robotic platform that combines intelligent steering, braking and suspension with electric drive in the wheels, cameras and lidar sensors for automated operation.

For larger logistics tasks and other mobility services, Hyundai can bundle four PnD modules, including an app associated with a robot dog called – What else? – Place.

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Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.