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Tech by VICE

I Want to Drive This Real Life Transformer

Japanese companies have unveiled the world’s first functioning car that turns into a robot and back again.

by Matthew Gault
Apr 27 2018, 1:22pm

Transformers are real and I desperately want to drive one. Japanese robotics company Brave Robotics unveiled a 12-foot tall walking mech that transforms into a car on Thursday. It’s called J-deite.

Brave Robotics constructed the robot in partnership with two other tech companies. Brave Robotics CEO Kenji Ishida told reporters on the scene that he wants J-deite to inspire future roboticists and help realize his dream of a world where people use transforming cars everyday in town.

J-deite can hold two human passengers as it transforms from a robot to a car and back again. It doesn’t drive yet, but it can walk very slowly and shimmy side to side in robot mode. This is a prototype, but Brave Robotics plans to manufacture more such robots. It’s internally powered by a battery that lets it move in robot mode for three hours before it needs to charge.

Ishida’s dream is fantastic and I want to live in a world where I can buy a car that transforms into a robot. But J-deite isn’t that car. It doesn’t drive and can barely walk. It’s a really cool toy, but that’s all it is—a toy.