Tsubame Industries is a startup from Japan whose whole business model is building giant mechs, edging us closer to the mech future I've dreamt of since watching Mobile Suit Gundam as a child. Ideally, though, with significantly fewer war crimes.
The Archax is a four-wheeled, 15-foot-tall mech. Its cockpit features a series of monitors that display live video from external cameras. Pilots can control the Archax's arms and hands in 'robot mode' with a pair of joysticks. Having seen the footage, it reminds me more of an Armored Core with its tank-like movements than a graceful Gundam, which moves around like a 4-story superheroes. Nevertheless, it's impressive.
There's also a 'vehicle mode' where this 3.5-ton mech transforms into "vehicle mode", and can move at speeds up to *drum roll* six miles per hour.
"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," the CEO of Tsubame, Ryo Yoshida, told Reuters.
He said he wanted to "create something that says, 'This is Japan.'"
Tsubame intends to showcase the Archax at the Japan Mobility Show later this month. The company hopes to sell at least five units, with aspirations of the Archax being deployed in disaster relief or the space industry. You've got to wonder about that battery life, though—it must be even worse than a gaming laptop's.
I must voice a pet peeve for a second here: I disagree with all the news outlets referring to the Archax as a robot instead of a mech. Robots, like R2D2, operate autonomously, whereas mechs require internal piloting—end of rant.
By the way, an Archax will cost you $3 million. But, honestly, can you really put a price on a dream?