Gundam, a beloved Japanese science fiction franchise, has long captivated enthusiasts with its towering, walking mecha. While such creations typically reside in anime and manga, a handful of groups have dared to bring these science fiction dreams into the real world. One of these daring ventures is the Archax, a brainchild of Tokyo-based startup Tsubame Industries.
The Archax is a testament to the fusion of cutting-edge technology and imaginative design. Its pilot occupies a central cockpit accessed via a ladder, cleverly positioned beneath its head and nestled between its two arms. Once the hatch is sealed, the pilot is enveloped by four video screens displaying real-time camera feeds from the front, rear, left, and right sides of the Archax. These screens also relay crucial data like speed, tilt angle, and battery life.
Operating this impressive creation is a tactile experience. The pilot utilizes a touchscreen interface alongside two armrest-integrated joysticks, each controlling an arm and two-foot pedals for acceleration and braking when in vehicle mode. Archax’s arms can be independently owned, with articulation at the shoulder and elbow. Even the fingers can be manipulated individually. The head, housing a single video camera, and the torso are also mobile, allowing the Archax to swivel and adapt to different situations.
Instead of walking, the Archax boasts four legs, each equipped with a wheel at the bottom. When it transitions into vehicle mode, the front legs extend forward while the rear legs move in the opposite direction, giving the robot a more stable and low-profile stance. To compensate for this shift, the cockpit tilts by about 17 degrees. In this mode, Archax can roll along at a maximum speed of 10 km/h (6.2 mph) thanks to its motorized rear wheels, and it’s steered using the front wheels.
While the battery range remains undisclosed, the Archax weighs in at 3.5 tons (3.2 tonnes) and towers at a height of 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) in robot mode. Its structure is a fusion of welded aluminum alloy plates and iron tubing enveloped in fiberglass-reinforced plastic panels coated with automotive paint.
Although Archax could find practical applications, it primarily serves as a high-tech toy for the affluent. Japanese buyers have recently been able to place preorders, with an Archax costing approximately 400 million yen (around US$2.7 million). The initial production run is slated to consist of five robots, requiring 12 to 18 months for completion. Mass production may follow, contingent on demand.
In the video below, you can witness the Archax in all its transforming, rolling glory:
Source: Tsubame Industries