Robot problems require robot solutions. Japan is gearing up to complete an actual full-size mobile Gundam by the end of the year.
You read that right. Japan’s Gundam Factory Yokohama intends to present their giant walking robot at Yamashita Pier, Yokohama on October 1, 2020.
“GUNDAM, and the internationally-acclaimed power of creation that Japan possesses, will merge in Yokohama, an international port city bristling with an enterprising spirit. Finally, it is time to make GUNDAM move. GUNDAM will move. It will move in Yokohama.”
With a design based on the extremely popular Gundam series of movies, anime, and video games, the real-life mecha will measure 18 meters (59 feet) tall and weigh somewhere around 25 tons (50,000 pounds).
Scaffolding for the giant robot is already in place. You can see their progress in this video from back in December, which also features a look at one of the Gundam’s future hands making a fist.
The University of Tokyo also created a computer simulation to show how the Gundam will move (that is, very slowly), proving that the towering hunk of metal will, if all goes as planned, actually walk.
Well, I don’t see that performing any epic robot/kaiju fights any time soon, but it’s progress. They’ve also created a tiny to-scale model of the Gundam, including its docking facility:
Since we’re on the topic of giant walking robots, it should be noted that no one will actually be inside the Gundam controlling it, if and when it does take its first steps. Instead, the robot will be remote controlled, and spectators will hang out at a safe distance within a nearby building.
For now, Gundam Factory Yokohama plans to hold a “Special Experience” from July to August 2020, on Saturdays and Sundays, where visitors will get a sneak peak of the Gundam facilities and check out the “special observatory deck at ‘GUNDAM-DOCK TOWER.'” Ticket sales to view the final Gundam will also begin in July.
Update: The Gundam Takes Its First Slow Step
In September 2020, Japan’s full-size Gundam replica took its first step in Yokohama. Well, it was less of a step and more of a very controlled forward motion with the help of supports, but impressive nonetheless given its immense size.>
As mentioned above, the bot is 60 feet tall and weighs around 24 tons, so you have to take these things slow. In special footage of the gundam (which is sped up quite a bit), you can watch as the giant mech exits its enclosure, kneels down, and raises its hand. “Finally,” they say in the video, the frame is completed, and the start-up experiment begins!”