Real “Gundam” goes on sale, here’s for how much

  • You can now buy a real-life mecha from a Japanese startup.
  • Called the ARCHAX, the robot is fully piloted via cockpit, can travel up to 10 km/h on four wheels, and has two arms and fully moveable hands.
  • The startup hopes that in the future these machines could be used for disaster relief or in the space industry.

Japanese startup Tsubame Industries has built a functioning mecha, and they’re selling it. The huge four-wheeled robot looks like a machine from Mobile Suit Gundam or more specifically to us an Armored Core from the hit series of videogames.

Unlike past attempts to make a real-life mecha, this 3.5 tonne piece of hardware is fully functional in that it can drive around on its wheels, its arms and hands can be moved and it has a real-deal UI within a cockpit.

Tsubame is calling the mech the ARCHAX, named after the dinosaur Archeopteryx which means “first bird” in Latin. The startup was going for the feeling that this robot is the start of something big with the name.

Inside the ARCHAX, showing off the real-time video camera feedback.

Tsubame is selling the ARCHAX for $3 million (¥400 million), and for that price, you get a vehicle that can go up to 10 km/h, which also has functional arms and one that fulfils all your hot-blooded mecha pilot fantasies.

Additionally, the ARCHAX has two modes that can be transformed while inside the cockpit, this includes the upright “robot mode” and the travelling “vehicle mode.”

According to Reuters, the ARCHAX build team is led by 25-year-old Ryo Yoshida, who is the chief executive of Tsubame Industries. He says that the ARCHAX is essentially an advertisement for Japanese engineering and manufacturing chops.

“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,” said Yoshida, who also founded a company that makes myoelectric prosthetic hands.

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

Tsubame Industries plans to build and sell five ARCHAX models to incredibly wealthy fans of Gundam, anime and robots, but Yoshida says that he hopes one day the machine could be used for actual important work like clearing rubble after an earthquake or in the space industry. As of right now, however, the ARCHAX is basically a big, expensive toy.

If you actually want an ARCHAX you will have to get in contact with Tsubame, who will make one for you per order. Unfortunately, the startup will only deliver within Japan and you will have to sort out transportation elsewhere yourself but chances you will be able to afford it if you can buy Tsubame’s Gundam.

It has a front-wheel steering, and rear-wheel drive. No fuel is needed as the machine is completely electric, running on a DC300V battery. Its frame is built using iron and aluminium alloy, but its cool-looking exterior is made from plastic using a 3D printer.

Estimate delivery time is 12 to 18 months after receiving the order and the fine folks at Tsubame will even throw in a free year of maintenance.

[Image – Tsubame Industries]


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