WATCH: Japan start-up creates giant human-piloted robot


Posted at Oct 02 2023 03:07 PM

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It looks like something out of a science-fiction film, and the dream of owning one will soon become a reality for a cool $3 million.

Tokyo-based start-up Tsubame Industries has spent the past two years developing a 4.5-metre-tall (14.8-feet), four-wheeled robot with a passing resemblance to "Mobile Suit Gundam" from the wildly popular Japanese animation series, to be unveiled at the Japan Mobility Show in late October. Tsubame Industries later plans to sell five units of the robot for 400 million yen ($2.7 million) each.

Called ARCHAX after the avian dinosaur archaeopteryx, the robot has cockpit monitors that receive images from cameras hooked up to the exterior so that the pilot can manoeuvre the arms and hands with joysticks from inside its torso.

Ryo Yoshida, Tsubame’s CEO, said he wanted to create something that combined elements from Japan’s strengths in animation, robotics and automobiles.

“I wanted to create something that says, ‘This is Japan’,” he told Reuters.

The 3.5-ton robot has two modes: the upright “robot mode” and a “vehicle mode” in which it can travel at up to 10 km (6 miles) per hour.

Yoshida plans to build and sell five of the machines as a toy for the well-heeled robot fan, but hopes they could one day be used for disaster relief or in the space industry.