A Tokyo-based robot manufacturer is selling a pilotable mecha robot that looks like it came straight out of Mobile Suit Gundam (or Patlabor if you’re really cool) for a whopping $US3 million.
Archax, named after a winged dinosaur believed to be the first bird on Earth, is a battery-powered robot on four wheels made by Tsubame Industries. The robot, which can be driven by a person from inside the steel cockpit in its chest, is 15 feet tall, weighs 3.5 tons, and (most importantly) can transform between an upright “robot” mode and a “vehicle” mode which can move at speeds up to 6 miles per hour. Y’know, just fast enough for jealous onlookers to get a generous eye full of your mecha in all its Tachikoma-esque glory.
Archax’s points of articulation and maneuverability are controlled using joysticks and foot pedals and its cockpit has four display screens connected to nine cameras outside of the cockpit to show prospective pilots their surroundings, according to Reuters. The cockpit is also air-conditioned, according to Anime New Network, which is nice. And the robot also comes in six colors: Sapphire Blue, Pearl White, Spark Red, Atlantis Green, and Midnight Purple. I’m partial to Midnight Purple.
Here’s a video of what it looks like inside the Archax’s cockpit:
And a video of its robot/vehicle mode transformation.
Unlike its anime counterpart, which often sees itself in the thick of explosive battles, Tsubame Industries CEO Tatsuo Yoshida told Reuters he hopes Archax will instead be used for disaster relief and space exploration.
“Japan is very good at animation, games, robots and automobiles so I thought it would be great if I could create a product that compressed all these elements into one,” Yoshida told Reuters. “I wanted to create something that says, ‘This is Japan’.”
As it stands now, Archax’s current model probably won’t be space or battle-ready anytime soon but it is unquestionably an anime-inspired piece of machinery that looks as cool as its website repeatedly reminds visitors. Things may change after Macross co-creator Shoji Kawamori, who announced his collaboration with Tsubame Industries, brings his own anime mecha designs to life. I sure hope so. Archax will be on display at the Japan Mobility Show on October 26 and is available for pre-order if you have $US3 million lying around somewhere.
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