Hyundai Motor Group says it wants to become completely carbon neutral by 2045. To achieve this goal, the company is making investments in cleaner transportation and greener energy solutions. Among other things, these investments would include a couple of next-generation drone platforms.
Hyundai’s drone plans combine both ground-based uncrewed autonomous vehicles and urban air mobility solutions. The drones will utilize what Hyundai is calling a “Fuel Cell e-Bogie.” Inspired from the rail industry, these Fuel Cell e-Bogies will house a fully enclosed system with hydrogen fuel cell propulsion and independent four-wheel steering.
Rescue Drone with hydrogen fuel cell propulsion
The Rescue Drone (pictured above) is a concept mobility solution that combines with a Fuel Cell e-Bogie to create a flying drone that can be operated remotely and autonomously for critical operations such as fire-fighting and emergency life-saving operations.
The Rescue Drone will feature an independent steering system for in-place turning maneuvers and “crab-walk” driving. It will also be able to carry out missions via images transmitted from drones mounted on the vehicle’s exterior while achieving a driving range of 450 to 500km from a single charge.
The Trailer Drone concept is a hydrogen-powered container transportation system capable of operating fully autonomously. With a number of intelligently packaged hydrogen tanks tailored to the journey profile, Hyundai’s flexible and efficient Trailer Drone will ensure more than 1,000km of range from a single charge – which is comparable to existing container transportation systems.
Hyundai stresses that the autonomous capabilities of the Trailer Drone would not be achieved by simply repurposing technology developed for passenger car applications. The unique requirements of container transport applications and the way container terminals operate mean that engineering teams from the Group completely redefined how a container maneuvers, thus leading to the development of hydrogen fuel cell e-Bogies.
As Euisun Chung, chairman, Hyundai Motor Group, explains:
The degree and frequency of environmental disasters are rising fast and we now face a code red warning for humanity. The Group seeks to offer powerful and pragmatic solutions for combatting climate change via the tremendous potential of hydrogen energy.