Hyundai Mobis e-Corner System, featuring Crab Walking and Zero Turn, is the first to debut on public roads

Hyundai Mobis E-Corner System
Hyundai Mobis showcased the e-corner system's driving modes on the IONIQ 5 at the Seosan Test Drive Circuit. Images credit Hyundai Mobis

The movement of automobiles has remained largely unaltered since their inception. The basic forward, backward, and sideways movements defined the range of motion for vehicles. However, Hyundai Mobis is introducing a paradigm shift in this realm with its innovative ‘e-corner System’, offering a glimpse into the future of automobile movement.

Unveiling the e-corner System

Hyundai Mobis’ e-corner System is not merely a technological advancement; it represents an evolution in the way vehicles move. The system introduces movements such as ‘crab driving’ (sideways motion) and the ability for the vehicle to rotate 360° in its place. Imagine a car turning 180° in a narrow alley or seamlessly adjusting its wheel angles for a smooth parallel park in tight spaces. These advanced functionalities were recently showcased using Hyundai Motor Company’s IONIQ 5 technology test vehicle on the Seosan Test Drive Circuit.

But what technology enables these intricate movements? The e-corner system is a fusion of driving, braking, steering, and suspension systems within each wheel of a car. Unlike traditional cars, where wheels move powered by the power linkage shaft and the direction is controlled by the steering gear linked to the vehicle body, the e-corner System’s wheels operate independently. The integration of the in-wheel motor, electric brake, electric steering, and damper within each wheel allows for this independent movement. As a result, each wheel can be directed differently, enabling a wide variety of vehicular motions.

During Hyundai’s test drive, this system showcased driving modes that appeared straight out of a sci-fi movie. From ‘zero turn’ which rotates the car in place by adjusting the wheels’ angles, ‘diagonal driving’ at a 45° angle, to ‘pivot turn’ – a maneuver where the car rotates around a chosen point, the implications for city driving and parking are profound.

Hyundai Mobis E-Corner System Four Main Parts
The e-corner system features four key components: in-wheel motor, electric brake, electric steering, and damper, revolutionizing vehicle movement.

Redefining vehicle design and functionality

A significant benefit of the e-corner System is the freeing up of cabin space. Since all drive-related components are relocated to the wheels, the internal space typically occupied by these parts can now be utilized for the vehicle’s cabin. This not only enables more spacious interiors but also provides designers with the freedom to rethink traditional car shapes.

Hyundai Mobis’ journey with the e-corner system began with its application in the M.Vision POP concept car in February 2022. They made significant refinements in the height, weight, and structural rigidity, subsequently miniaturizing the system to fit regular passenger cars like the IONIQ 5.

Hyundai Mobis E-Corner System Crab Driving
Crab Driving allows vehicles to move sideways, offering unparalleled maneuverability in tight spaces.

As the world veers towards more specific, purpose-based vehicles (PBVs), systems like e-corner are pivotal. Whether it’s shuttles in urban centers, robot taxis, logistics vehicles, or daily commuting cars, the ability to navigate complex routes while maximizing internal space is invaluable. What’s more, the system’s scalable nature means it can be manufactured in sizes ranging from ultra-small (fit for robotics) to large, depending on the vehicle’s requirements.

The implications and potential challenges

Incorporating the e-corner system will necessitate several changes in the automotive world. From evolving social laws and infrastructural modifications to overhauling part design, assembly processes, and maintenance methods, the industry will need to adapt. Yet, the benefits are manifold. Cars can be designed with multiple scalability factors in mind, leading to an array of vehicle types dotting urban landscapes.

Hyundai Mobis E-Corner System Zero Turn
The e-corner system’s Zero Turn capability allows vehicles to rotate in place.

One of the standout features of the e-corner system is its ability to perform the ‘pivot turn’, allowing the car to rotate around almost any point. While this immensely aids city driving, it can also help in designing more space-efficient parking areas.

Hyundai Mobis, keenly aware of safety concerns, is investing in research to ensure the e-corner system is both safe and user-friendly. Their ambition is not just to expand the system’s functionalities but also to consider its wider implications for cityscapes and driving habits.

Hyundai Mobis E-Corner System Pivot Turn
The Pivot Turn feature lets vehicles rotate around a chosen point, enhancing precision and flexibility in movement.

A glimpse into the future

What does the e-corner System mean for the end user and global automakers? For automakers, it offers new avenues in design, production, serviceability, and autonomous driving. For the end user, it promises unparalleled convenience and a transformative driving experience.

Although systems like the e-corner haven’t seen mass production yet, Hyundai Mobis’ strides in this direction highlight their commitment to leadership in an ever-evolving auto industry. The e-corner system is still being refined, but the world watches with bated breath, eager to see if it becomes the transformative tool Hyundai Mobis envisions it to be.

Hyundai Mobis E-Corner System Diagonal Driving
The e-corner system’s Diagonal Driving allows vehicles to move obliquely at 45°.

Source: Hyundai Mobis