Stunt SUV pulls a 'Transformer' and gets around gridlock
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Stunt SUV pulls a ‘Transformer’ and gets around gridlock


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Some people build tunnels to deal with traffic, others reinvent the car.

Hum Rider is that vehicular reinvention and, perhaps, the answer to all your traffic congestion frustration. It looks like a standard Jeep Cherokee Wagon SUV, but when it gets stuck in traffic, the car body can lift up, the wheel base widens and then the car can drive right over other bumper-to-bumper- cars.

It’s really a shame that this cool, smart idea is is just a very well-executed marketing  stunt. 

Thinkmodo (best known for its Devil Baby viral video) cooked up the concept to promote Verizon Telematic’s Hum platform. Hum comprises of a dongle that plugs into the OBD port on any car made after 1996 and a Bluetooth speaker. It adds diagnostics, road-side assistance, location and speed tracking and geo-fencing. Verizon’s hardware costs $29 and the monthly service costs $10 a month.

Hum Rider extends

Hum Rider extends

Image: thinkmodo

“In many respects, [the Hum Rider is] a bit of a metaphor, taking the ordinary driving experience and making it extraordinary. Kind of what we’re illustrating with that crazy car that drives over cars ,” said Verizon VP of Marketing Jay Jaffin, who told us Thinkmodo showed them a number of marketing concepts, but this is the one that stuck. “We saw this one [and said], ‘Wow, that is crazy,’ We loved the idea,” said Jaffin.

The hydraulic rig is big and heavy.

The hydraulic rig is big and heavy.

Image: thinkmodo

But it can lift up and widen enough to clear another SUV.

But it can lift up and widen enough to clear another SUV.

Image: thinkmodo

James Percelay, who co-founded Thinkmodo with Michael Krivicka, told Mashable, that they wanted a literal representation of the upgrade Hum brings to cars, so Thinkmodo built one “that literally goes up.”

Designed by mechanical effects engineer Scott Beverly of A2Zfx, Hum Rider features over 300 feet of hydraulic lines that power everything from the steering and braking to the locomotion. A single gas-powered Honda generator sits under the hood, delivering electricity to the pumps that drive 900 pounds of pressure to power all the hydraulic pumps. 

Hum Rider beats the traffic.

Hum Rider beats the traffic.

Image: thinkmodod

Hum Rider weighs 8,500 lbs., almost double the weight of a standard Jeep Grand Cherokee. To support all that tonnage, Thinkmodod replaced the standard tires with thicker, bigger truck tires

Fully extended, the roof of the car stands at 9 feet tall, offering just enough clearance over the roof of a standard car and decent clearance from the sides. However, to make sure the Hum Rider doesn’t sheer off a mirror or scrape a roof, there are four cameras and an integrated quad-split video screen in the vehicle.

Part of the Hum Rider's impressive hydraulic system.

Part of the Hum Rider’s impressive hydraulic system.

Image: thinkmodo

A single gas-powered generator delivers electricity to all the hydraulic pumps.

A single gas-powered generator delivers electricity to all the hydraulic pumps.

Image: thinkmodo

In the stunt video, embedded above, the driver sees the traffic on a street in Lancaster, California, hits a button on the dashboard and the car raises and widens, telescoping like Inspector Gadget’s limbs. Percelay told us that this actually happens quite quickly and with a minimum of sound (it is hydraulic, after, all). 

Seeing a car transform like that on a public street surely raised some eyebrows. To keep the car secret, Thinkmodo deployed a small army of production assistants to prevent bystanders from filming the Hum Rider’s abilities over the course of almost 30 rides.

Percelay wouldn’t reveal the exact cost of the product, but then who could put a price on that kind of convenience? Wonder if Elon Musk has seen this.

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March 20, 2017
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