Five mech suits capable of morphing between robotic and vehicular modes are now available for pre-order from a Japanese startup overseen by 25-year-old inventor Ryo Yoshida. At nearly 15-feet-tall and weighing in around 3.5 tons, one of Tsubame Industries’ “Archax” joyrides can be all yours—if you happen to have an extra $3 million burning a hole in your pocket.
News of the production update came courtesy of Reuters on Monday, who spoke with Yoshida about their thought process behind constructing the futuristic colossus, which gets its name from the famous winged dinosaur archaeopteryx.
[Related: Robotic exoskeletons are storming out of sci-fi and onto your squishy human body.]
“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,” he said at the time. “I wanted to create something that says, ‘This is Japan.’”
To pilot the steel and iron-framed Archax, individuals must first climb a small ladder and enter a cockpit situated within the robot’s chest. Once sealed inside, a system of nine cameras connected to four view screens allows riders to see the world around them alongside information such as battery life, speed, tilt angle, and positioning. Depending on a user’s desire, Archax can travel upwards of 6 mph from one of two setups—a four-wheeled upright robotic mode, and a more streamlined vehicle mode in which the cockpit reclines 17 degrees as the chair remains upright. Meanwhile, a set of joysticks alongside two floor pedals control the mech suit’s movement, as well as its controllable arms and hands
Unlike countless other robotic creations on the market, however, Archax currently isn’t designed for rigorous real world encounters. It’s currently meant to be, per the company’s own description, “cool.”
But that doesn’t mean Yoshida and his team at Tsubame aren’t hopeful to build future Archax models better equipped for real world uses. According to the inventor, he hopes such pilotable robotic suits could find applications within search-and-rescue operations, disaster relief, and even the space industry. For now, however, Tsubame sounds perfectly satisfied with its luxury toy status.
“Arcax is not just a big robot that you can ride inside. A person can climb into the cockpit and control the vehicle at will. Each part moves with sufficient speed, rigidity, and power,” reads the product’s description.
“And it’s cool,” Tsubame Industries reiterates.
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