The stress of tight parallel parking or making a U-turn could become a thing of the past if technology like the e-Corner from Hyundai Mobis becomes mainstream.
First announced in 2018, the e-Corner is a single unit that combines suspension, steering, driving, and braking functions, and is small enough to fit in the wheel hub of a conventional vehicle.
Because the e-Corner relies on an in-wheel motor for drive power, as opposed to a driven axle, the wheel can be turned up to 90 degrees, resulting in impressive maneuverability.
Hyundai Mobis, the parts and accessories arm of Hyundai, recently demonstrated this maneuverability in a Hyundai Ioniq 5. A video shows four types of motion: Crab Driving, Zero Turn, Diagonal Driving, and Pivot Turn.
In Crab Driving, the vehicle drives sideways, which would make parallel parks a breeze. Zero Turn allows the vehicle to complete a full 360-degree turn on a spot, ideal for U-turns, while Pivot Turn lets the front of the vehicle remain on a spot and the rear rotate around the spot. Diagonal Driving is the same as the Crab Walk featured in the GMC Hummer EV, where the vehicle moves in a diagonal motion.
Hyundai Mobis hasn’t announced plans for a production version of the e-Corner, though there’s a chance it will be used in future robotaxis, as the extra maneuverability would be ideal in busy urban environments where robotaxis are best suited.
Hyundai Mobis presented a concept robotaxi called M.Vision To fitted with e-Corner technology during last week’s 2023 CES. Hyundai Mobis said a vehicle like the M.Vision To could be used to offer rides or deliver cargo.
One of the first customers for a vehicle like the M.Vision To may even be Hyundai. The automaker has a self-driving technology joint venture with Aptiv that plans to launch a robotaxi service starting in Las Vegas later this year.