Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors said on November 23 that they have developed prototypes of robotic walking assistive devices designed with the elderly and disabled in mind.
The prototypes are 4 types of wearable robotic exoskeletons: KAMO (a wearable knee-mounted device), HAMO (for the hip joint), H-LEX (a combination of KAMO and HAMO) and H-MEX (for medical purposes). Clinical trials of the prototypes are currently underway.
In particular, H-MEX has been developed to enable individuals with lower-body paralysis to walk on their own. In the future, H-MEX is expected to be widely utilized for industrial, military and other various purposes.
Hyundai and Kia predict that their wearable robotic exoskeletons would be commercialized as early as 2020. To do so, Hyundai and Kia are pushing for localizing the production of key components (e.g. motors, decelerators and controllers) and internalizing system control software technology. As of now, Hyundai holds nearly 80 domestic and international patents on wearable robots, including an ultra-thin series elastic actuator (SEA).