SUV lifts you up where you belong and leapfrogs traffic jams

It rises 9 feet into the air.

So, you're at a dead stop, stuck in traffic, when it pulls up behind you. It appears to be a garden-variety Jeep Grand Cherokee. That is, until its undercarriage lifts the Jeep 9 feet into the air, and the whole rig straddles you and the cars ahead of you in a bid for open road.

The car is called the Hum Rider, and no, you can't buy one at the Jeep store. It's a one-off publicity stunt intended to promote Verizon Telematic's Hum platform, which plugs into a car's OBD port and for $10 a month provides vehicle diagnostics, roadside assistance, location tracking, and speed and geo-fencing alerts. (Not sure if Hum tracks vertical leaps.)

Verizon enlisted viral marketing agency Thinkmodo to promote the Hum, and this idea was head and shoulders above the rest. "We saw this one [and said], 'Wow, that is crazy,' said Jay Jaffin, Verizon's VP of marketing. "We loved the idea."

Thinkmodo co-founder James Percelay told Mashable that they wanted to represent the upgrade Hum brings to cars. So the car goes up. Get it?

Here's the star of this story: Hum Rider's designer, Scott Beverly, has done visual effects for Hollywood in The Dark Knight, Inception and Interstellar. He works for A2Zf, a Lancaster, Calif., design and engineering firm that keeps the world filled with Batmobiles, Red Bull Can Cars and beautifully designed VWs and Audis. A2Zf has also worked with NASA on X-planes and with Northrup on the B2 bomber, so compared to those projects, a car-straddling car is hardly a stretch.

So what does it take to make a car do this? How about:
  • Over 300 feet of hydraulic lines that operate everything - the lift mechanism, steering, braking and power to the drivetrain.
  • A gas-powered Honda generator under the hood that powers hydraulic pumps pushing out 900 pounds of pressure.
  • A lot of mechanical structure. Hum Rider weighs 8,500 pounds, almost double a standard Grand Cherokee.
  • Heavy-duty truck tires to support all that weight.
  • Four undercarriage cameras that allow the driver to see and clear what's beneath him.
What did it cost? They're not saying. What would it be worth, the next time you're stuck in traffic? Priceless.

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