Archax, the 15-feet tall mecha that can be piloted by a human

Only five bots will be made and are priced at $2.5 million a piece.
Ameya Paleja
The first prototype of the mecha robot, Archax
The first prototype of the mecha robot, Archax


Tsubame, a Japanese firm, brings science fiction to reality with Transformer-style mecha robots. The first, dubbed Archax, has a cockpit where a human can sit to pilot the bot and, at the touch of a button, can even take a different form. Though lacking finesse, the Autobots achieve animated feats in the film series.

Fans of Japanese culture might be aware of the importance of giant mechanical robots in the country's entertainment scene and how they have become a genre in themselves. Japanese companies, known for their expertise in robotics, have also delved into building real-world replicas of these, but nothing constructed so far has come as close to what Tsubame has achieved.

How big is the mecha robot?

Archax stands nearly 15 feet (4.5 m) tall, and a full-grown human could sit inside the cockpit comfortably to pilot it. The Transformer-like robot has four legs and wheels to help it move around.

The structure is made from iron and aluminum alloy, and the exterior is made from fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP). The weight of the mecha bot is around 3.5 tons, much more than an average car.

The pilot can navigate the mecha using two joysticks and various pedals provided inside the cockpit. 26 cameras capture data from multiple angles of the bot and display this information on three monitors inside, aiding navigation.

At the touch of a button, Archax reduces the size of its wheelbase, making it stand taller. In this position, the bot moves at a relatively slower pace of just over a mile an hour. However, its standard outstretched configuration can cover over six miles (9.65 km) an hour.

Interestingly, the robot is also equipped with articulated fingers that the pilot can use to lift objects weighing up to 33 pounds (15 kg).

A toy for the ultra-rich?

The team recently completed the manufacture of the prototype robot and moved it from the assembly plant to the warehouse. Improvement for Archax will continue to be made while it remains at the warehouse and the company figures out the commercialization aspects of the engineering.

Piloting a mecha robot is perhaps a childhood dream for many in Japan and worldwide. Tsubame is building the devices that can make this come true. However, the company plans to build not more than five robots, each expected to be priced at $2.5 million.

This begs whether the mecha is just a toy for the ultra-rich. Partly, yes. However, Tatsuo Yoshida, Director at Tsumabe Industries, told Luxury Launches that Archax could also be used as a boarding robot that can be used in applications such as disaster recovery and space development. That leaves governments and space agencies as another potential customer for the robot.