The Metaverse Is Just The Latest Incarnation Of Las Vegas

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun speaks about the company's robotics drive alongside a robot called Spot during the company's robotics conference at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Tuesday (local time). Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun speaks about the company's robotics drive alongside a robot called Spot during the company's robotics conference at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Tuesday (local time). Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Auto giant to combine robotics with mobility

By Kim Hyun-bin LAS VEGAS ― Hyundai Motor unveiled its vision for pioneering the use of robotics in both the real world and the metaverse at the Consumer Electronics Show 2022 (CES 2022), one of the most influential tech events in the world that runs until Friday. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun, delivered a presentation under the theme of "Expanding Human Reach" at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Tuesday (local time). The presentation reflected the company's robotics drive, which is part of its paradigm shift towards future mobility, going beyond traditional means of transportation. Robotics is an essential part of Hyundai Motor's transformation into a smart mobility solution provider. As part of that transformation, the automotive giant acquired Boston Dynamics to get its hands on advanced robotics technologies that can be used to develop a wide range of mobility solutions.
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun speaks about the company's robotics drive alongside a robot called Spot during the company's robotics conference at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Tuesday (local time). Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group
Logo of Consumer Electronics Show / Courtesy of Consumer Technology Association
The company believes robotics and mobility form a synergistic combination that will propel its future earnings. Hyundai Motor describes that combination as "metamobility," which aims to pioneer a connection between smart devices and the metaverse that will expand the role of mobility to virtual reality (VR). Hyundai Motor also shared its vision of how robots will act as a medium between the real world and virtual space, enabling users to make changes in the metaverse to be reflected in reality. The company envisions future mobility gaining traction through the development of robotics technology, AI and autonomous driving. Smart automobiles and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) will be transformed into smart devices that are more than just means of transportation. "We envision future mobility solutions made possible by advanced robotics ― even expanding our mobility solutions to Metamobility," Chung said. "This vision will enable unlimited freedom of movement and progress for humanity." During the automaker's CES presentation, Hyundai Motor Group President Chang Song and Microsoft Corporate Vice President Ulrich Homann joined Boston Dynamics' founder Marc Raibert to discuss the metaverse and metamobility. Hyundai Motor expects that forms of mobility, such as automobiles and UAM, will serve as smart devices to access virtual space, while robotics will act as a medium to connect the virtual and real worlds. "The idea behind Metamobility is that space, time and distance will all become irrelevant. By connecting robots to the metaverse, we will be able to move freely between both the real world and virtual reality," Song said. "Going one step further from the immersive 'be there' proxy experience that the metaverse provides, robots will become an extension of our own physical senses, allowing us to reshape and enrich our daily lives with metamobility." Unlike the current incarnation of VR where user experiences are not reflected in the real world due to technological limitations, future metaverse users will be able to affect changes in the real world through robotics and digital twin technology, a virtual representation of a physical object, place or process that will be made possible by further advancements in sensors and actuators. For example, a user accessing a digital twin of their residence in the metaverse while being away will be able to feed and hug his or her pet at home through an avatar robot. This will allow users to enjoy real world experiences through VR. Hyundai Motor envisions a metaverse using robots as a medium between the real and virtual worlds, enabling people to actually change and transform things in the real world through a metaverse and robot connection.

Smart transport ecosystem

Hyundai Motor also revealed its blueprint for a so-called Mobility of Things (MoT) ecosystem where Plug & Drive (PnD) and Drive & Lift (DnL) modular platforms are fused with robotics technologies to create new modes of smart, interconnected transportation. "We are directing all our robotics engineering and creative efforts toward building an unlimited Mobility of Things ecosystem," said Hyun Dong-jin, vice president and head of Hyundai Motor Group's robotics lab. "The goal is for robotics to enable all kinds of personal mobility, connected to communicate, move and perform tasks autonomously." Hyun highlighted the new PnD module, a wheeled robotics platform that combines intelligent steering, braking, in-wheel electric drive and suspension hardware that can be scaled up or down, for any purpose, size or application. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) functions and camera sensors allow a PnD-enabled object to move autonomously. "In the world to come, we will not move our things, but things will actually move around us with the PnD module making traditionally inanimate objects mobile," Hyun Dong-jin, head of Hyundai Motor Group Robotics Lab said. "We are directing all our ambitious robotics engineering and creative efforts towards realizing an even bigger vision than ever ― the unlimited Mobility of Things ecosystem." At CES 2022, Hyundai Motor exhibited a total of four concept models using a PnD modular platform, including Personal Mobility, Service Mobility, Logistics Mobility and L7 ― all of which fit into the envisioned unlimited MoT ecosystem.
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun speaks about the company's robotics drive alongside a robot called Spot during the company's robotics conference at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Tuesday (local time). Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor's Mobile Eccentric Droid (MobED) / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor also showcased the MobED (Mobile Eccentric Droid) small mobility platform that uses the DnL module that combines the drive, steering and braking systems in one structure. With DnL mounted on each wheel, MobED can lift the platform up and down so the body can stay level as it traverses uneven terrain or shallow barriers such as steps or speed bumps. Raibert also joined the presentation to show how Boston Dynamics and Hyundai Motor are taking mobility beyond physical limitations using current robotics technologies. Together, the two companies envision a future in which people and robots work together, improving safety, productivity and quality of life. "We see a future where robots become more than just task-oriented tools, more than just machines," Raibert said. "We believe in a future where robots become useful, trusted companions in our everyday lives."
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun speaks about the company's robotics drive alongside a robot called Spot during the company's robotics conference at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Tuesday (local time). Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor's Spot robot- / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Showcasing future robotics

Hyundai Motor opened an exhibition booth to present how mobility in the real world can be advanced with its robots, including Spot quadrupeds, PnD Personal Mobility modules, L7 micro-mobility models and MobED small mobility platforms with eccentric wheels. The booth also features the Metaverse Zone where visitors can experience the virtual world to catch a glimpse of the future robotics society. The zone's four-sided LEDs provide an immersive experience where visitors can create personalized avatars and communicate with them in a virtual space.
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Source : https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2022/01/419_321735.html

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