It should be quite the spectacle with a 15-foot-tall, 12-ton robot built by MegaBots of Hayward, Calif. squaring off against a Japanese rival from Suidobashi Heavy Industries in what is being marketed as a battle to the death. The bout has been two years in the making and actually has already happened, although participants were apparently sworn to secrecy.
MegaBots turned to Kickstarter to fund improvements to its robot, raising more than $550,000. On its website, MegaBots says the Eagle Prime giant robot, powered by a 430-horsepower Corvette engine can can shoot projectiles at speeds of more than 130 mph. The robot carries two people—a pilot and a gunner. For purists, the fact humans are in control cuts into the robot narrative, as Jake Kuczeruk, MegaBots’ vice president of business development acknowledged via email.
“If you ask a pure roboticist, they would say that technically it’s an armored vehicle, but culturally, if you stand any layperson in front of this thing, 99% of the time they’ll say it’s a robot,” he said. MegaArmoredVehicles, however, doesn’t sound nearly as snappy, he added.
For a preview, check out the video below:
According to Quartz, one key problem the two companies had to discuss early on was how the human pilots themselves would “figure out how to not die” in the planned melee.
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MegaBots, not prone to understatement, is proclaiming the battle to be “the most incredible sports entertainment that the world has ever seen.”
Nation-on-nation robot combat. Multi-ton behemoths will swing punches, tearing steel armor panels off each other until one mech is left standing, while the opponent is left a heap of scrap metal. Welcome to the future of sports.
Twitch TV, which was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million, will stream the duel Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT.
Note: (October 17, 2017 2:56 p.m. EDT) This story was updated to add comments from MegaRobots.