New format for Tokyo Motor Show opens the door for giant robot exhibitors.

This year, the Tokyo Motor Show has rebranded itself as the Japan Mobility Show. Personally, as a lifelong car fan, I think the new name is kind of dorky, but broadening the event’s scope comes with at least one very cool benefit: the show can also exhibit giant pilotable robots.

Since the show now features exhibits from companies outside the automobile manufacturing and design industries, Tokyo’s Tsubame Industries has a booth, and they’re using it to display the Archax, their new pilotable robot. And no, this isn’t some proof-of-concept mockup. The Archax’s design is finalized, and it’s officially on sale right now.

We sent our ace reporter Mr. Sato out to the Tokyo Big Sight convention center, where the Japan Mobility Show is being held, for an early-access up-close look at the 3.5-metric ton (7,716-poind) Archax. At its full height, the robot is 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) feet tall.

▼ Boarding the Archax

The Archax’s chest plating is also its cockpit cover, which swings upward to allow access via attached exterior footholds.

Now, if we’ve learned anything from anime, it’s that one day, you will find yourself suddenly inside a mecha with an urgent need to pilot it, so let’s go over the controls.

Inside the cockpit are an array of joysticks, foot pedals, touchscreens, and physical switches. You use the paired sticks to control the robot’s hands, arms, and waist, while the pedals are for moving the robot forward and backward and the remaining controls are for other functions.

If you suspected Tsubame Industries’ engineers were Patlabor fans after their dockside press release photos, their Japan Mobility Show presentation demonstrating some Patlabor 2: The Movie-style wrist and finger movement will not dissuade you of the notion.

The cockpit’s dimensions are compact enough to give it a sense of purposefulness, but Tsubame also went to great lengths in the ergonomics department, with the designers saying they adjusted the placement of the controls down to the millimeter for the best combination of comfort and easy of use. There are no windows to see out of once the hatch is closed, but nine exterior cameras relay visuals to four monitors inside the cockpit.

And the Archax’s coolest feature? It reconfigures between two different modes.

The taller of the two is called Robot Mode, while Vehicle Mode is a hunkered-down, 3.9-meter stance for better stability while in motion. Changing modes also changes the tilt of the pilot’s seat, since the best anime robot transformations include some sort of cockpit alteration too.

▼Switching from Robot Mode to Vehicle Mode

As someone who grew up watching mecha anime, seeing the Archax in-person filled Mr. Sato’s heart with joy. You will, however, need a bank account filled with money to join the ranks of mecha owners, as the Archax is priced at 400 million yen (US$2.74 million) per unit for its initial planned run of five robots. Still, should we ever manage to actually crack the secret to winning the lottery, an Archax is definitely going on Mr. Sato’s shopping list.

The Japan Mobility Show opens to the general public on October 28 and runs until November 5.

Related: Tokyo Mobility Show, Tsubame Industries
Photos ©SoraNews24
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