Roboticists have started work on a Transformer-style humanoid robot that morphs into a car that can drive over 60km/h*. Not a toy — a human-sized transforming machine. Kinda pie-in-the-sky idea, but a Japanese company is throwing a heap of money into building this thing.
Last Friday, Brave Robotics and Asratec Corporation announced they have started building an 3m tall, 700kg Optimus Prime-esque robot that will transform into a two-passenger car. The Wall Street Journal reports the machine could walk in humanoid form on wheels at half the speed of the car, so about 30km/h, and could take only 10 seconds to transform.
It's called Project J-Deite, and they want a working model by 2017. We lose you yet? Stay with us: Asratec is a subsidiary of cell phone behemoth SoftBank, one of Japan's biggest companies and worth over $US70 billion. The megacorp has been pumping money into the country's robotics scene, and helped bring us Pepper, the emotion-reading robot set for release later this year.
The video below is from last year, teasing a prototype one-forth the size of the planned hulking machine transforming from bot to car. We'll believe it when we see it. (We really wanna see it.)
Pictures: Project J-Deite