It doesn’t exactly walk. But it can roll at as fast as a man can run, and it’s big enough to carry a human pilot. Say hello to Kuratas, the world’s first commercially available self-mobile human augmentation robotic transport vehicle. The robot stands thirteen feet tall and squats its six tons on four diesel powered wheels, giving it an oddly spider-like appearance that recalls the Tachikoma, artificially intelligent spider-bots from Ghost in the Shell. The company that builds them – and yes, they’re real – says that the Kuratas is technically an art piece, and thus does not guarantee the operator either safety or comfort.
The Kuratas has carbon fiber shielding and iron claws as options. It can also be equipped with a cannon that launches water bottles which “occasionally hit their targets” – at least that’s honesty in advertising – and/or BB guns which fire in response to facial expressions, such as a smile. It uses the Kinect system as part of a gestural control and touch screen system for use by the human pilot. Not quite up to suiting up to drive the thing around? You can also control it via an app on a 3G smart phone. We assume it has safeties in case you lose signal or get out of range. There’s also a third control option, which is manipulating a small model of the big machine – it mimics whatever you make the model version do.
If you want to drive it around on the city streets, you’re probably not going to get a lot of cooperation from local law enforcement, as it takes up as much or more road space as a car, but only travels at about 7 miles per hour. Some critics say that that’s not especially fast, but when you consider what it is and how much it weighs, 7 miles an hour is just fast enough to be scary and dangerous.
Despite all this,. the Kuratas can make your dream of being a robot pilot come true. If you’re that kind of a dreamer, though, you’d better be a rich one – the Kuratas comes equipped with a base $1.3 million price tag, without extras.
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