Robots, Mobility Vehicles Delight Visitors at Japan Mobility Show

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
Tsubame Industries Co.’s “ARCHAX” product is seen at the Japan Mobility Show in Koto Ward, Tokyo, on Thursday.

Personal mobility vehicles, including uniquely crafted robotlike creations, are among the products drawing attention at the Japan Mobility Show, which opened Thursday at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward, Tokyo.

Tokyo startup Tsubame Industries Co. demonstrated its “ARCHAX” product — a large, robotlike vehicle that can be operated by a human passenger. With a height of 4.5 meters and a powerful, dynamic appearance, ARCHAX would not look out of place in a sci-fi animation. It runs on wheels powered by EV batteries and can perform simple upper-body movements, such as those necessary to play rock-paper-scissors.

The company began accepting orders for ARCHAX in September at a price around ¥400 million.

“We combined the technologies of industrial robots and construction equipment, and [were successful in terms of realizing a product] with good design and operability,” said Akinori Ishii, who heads the ARCHAX project and formerly worked at Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., where he was involved in the development of a life-sized moving Gundam robot based on the “Mobile Suit Gundam” anime series.

Suzuki Motor Corp. exhibited a next-generation prototype for its four-legged mobility device “MOQBA,” which can travel up and down stairs and is expected to prove useful for transporting people who have walking difficulties.

Meanwhile, Sansei Technologies Inc., an Osaka manufacturer of roller coasters and other products, exhibited its “SR-02” robot, a four-legged walking machine with four seats.

For its part, major parts supplier Aisin Corp. displayed “P∓Bo” (pronounced “pee-bo”), a robot that can carry beverages. When instructed to deliver coffee to a customer, the small, 80-centimeter-tall device was seen to move swiftly. The robot’s technology harnesses the characteristics of a pendulum, helping prevent spillages even when stopping abruptly or accelerating, the company said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony on Thursday, Akio Toyoda — chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Inc. (JAMA) and chairman of Toyota Motor Corp.— said, “The venue is showcasing the future of Japan’s mobility-related technologies,”

The exhibition is open to the public from Saturday through Nov. 5.

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
Suzuki Motor Corp.’s next-generation, four-legged “MOQBA” mobility vehicle