Forget football or basketball, the sport of the future could be a league of giant fighting robot teams.
At least that is the hope of Gui Cavalcanti, the founder of MegaBots, a company that makes jumbo-size robots.
Earlier this week, MegaBots released a video showing off 15-foot giant robot and challenged the Japanese robot maker Suidobashi Heavy Industry to a giant robot brawl. The video went viral and Suidobashi’s founder Kogoro Kurata accepted the challenge in his own video and now it looks like the companies’ giant robots will go head to head this time next year.
While a battle between two enormous robots might seems like a stunt, Cavalcanti said it’s actually part of a much bigger plan to popularise a new sport where two humanoid robots fight to the death.
“Our real vision has always been to start a league of these giant robots,” Cavalcanti told Business Insider in an interview. “That has always been the drive.”
Last October, the company tried to make its dream a reality when it launched a Kickstarter project to raise about $US1.8 million to build two jumbo robots to battle against each other. The campaign failed, though, forcing MegaBot to rethink its strategy.
“Essentially, the message that we got was that people didn’t think that the technology was ready and they didn’t really know if it would be a sport worth watching,” Cavalcanti said.
“We had grand ideas, but we didn’t have any proof that people would want this. So for us it turned into this thing of how do we show people they want it instead of telling them?”
For the next seven months MegaBot worked on developing its next prototype robot called the Mark II. The final product was a 15-foot, 12,000 pound bot that rolls around via tank treads and is piloted by a team of two human operators that sit inside the robot. The robot also features attached guns that can shoot paintballs at 100 miles per hour.
While impressive, the Mark II still needed another machine to battle. That’s when MegaBot got the clever idea to reach out to Suidobashi.
“We got to thinking, well, you know maybe the way we start a sports league is with one fight,” Cavalcanti said. “We’ll give people the first taste of what a show would be like, what a whole league would be like and we can take it from there.”
Suidobashi’s robot, called the Kurata, stands at 13 feet high, weighs 8,000 pounds, and has been around for about three years. It’s a little bit more refined than the Mark II, but Cavalcanti said that his robot’s size gives it an edge over the Japanese robot.
Details regarding the fight are still be decided, but Cavalcanti said he plans to work with Suidobashi to decide fair rules for the fight. One thing that Kogoro Kurata did request when he accepted MegaBot’s challenge, though, was that no guns be used in the battle. So the robots will be going head to head without any kind of weapon.
As far as where the battle will be hosted, Cavalcanti said he is still figuring that out. But added that he has the perfect place in mind.
“Our dream is to have it in international waters, I’m not gonna lie. We would really love to have the fight on a ship or aircraft carrier in the middle of the pacific. That is our absolute favourite dream, we’ll see if that can happen,” he said. “If you know anyone in the Navy, tell them to give me a call.”