Two years ago, Megabots Inc. in the US challenged the Japanese company Suidobashi Heavy Industries, which can only be described as historic. One week later, the Japanese company accepted. And so it became official. The US and Japan would fight in the world’s first giant robot duel. It’s the Megabots’ Eagle Prime vs The Suidobashi Kurata. And you’ll be able to see this fight in all its glory on Twitch on Wednesday at 07:30 AM (SL Time).
However, this isn’t a live event. Megabots shared that the duel consisted of multiple rounds that were spread out over several days to give both teams time to repair their robots. As such, it wasn’t possible to live stream the fight. Nonetheless, the two teams met and fought inside an abandoned steel mill in Japan.
The challenges faced when hosting a giant robot duel
But finding this venue wasn’t easy. And that’s one reason why the duel was delayed to this year Initially, the duel was set to be held in 2016. However, there were logistical issues at the originally-chosen venue.
These issues range from whether the floor could’ve supported the weight of the robots, had sufficient power and utilities to repair the robots, safely containing the fight, and more. Challenges that no other venue in the world had likely to contend with. Another challenge the teams faced was safety.
In fact, one of the first challenges the teams had to contend with was to ensure that the pilots wouldn’t die. And this why Megabots had to build a new robot. Initially, when Megabots threw the challenge at Suidobashi, they had already built a robot called the MK. II. However, the MK. II was unsafe for close combat.
Megabots had to build a new robot. And so they took to Kickstarter. Sure enough, generous Kickstarter backers helped make Megabots’ dream a reality. But none of the Kickstarter backers were able to witness the duel live. The teams were unsure if they could keep any spectators safe. And so the duel was closed off to the public.
Megabots also had another unique challenge in getting approval from the TSA to ship their giant robot, which was built exclusively for combat. Gui Cavalcanti – cofounder of Megabots even said that building the robot was easy compared to shipping it to the duel.
The rules of the duel
“Just building something huge and sticking guns on it. It’s Super American. But you know, we really need melee combat. If we’re gonna win this, I want to punch them to scrap and knock them down to it,” said Kogoro Kurata – the designer of the Kurata when he accepted the challenge from Megabots.
This was the absolute condition for the duel. Both robots could have guns but they absolutely needed to have melee weapons. When the duel finally took place, it was fought on a knockout system. Victory was obtained by either knocking over or disabling the opponent’s giant robot. The weight, size, power, and weapons were the decisions of the respective teams. But the weapons chosen were designed to damage rather than cut metal.
The contenders: Eagle Prime vs Kurata
Suidobashi’s Kurata was the world’s first user-operated giant robot when it was released in 2012. It weighs approximately 4.5 tons and stands at 13 feet tall. Powered by a diesel engine, the Kurata’s four wheels give it a speed of 10km/h.
It’s operated by a single driver and has a large arsenal of weaponry. This arsenal includes Twin BB Gatling guns, a launcher that shoots water bottles, an iron claw, two semi-automatic spears, and more. You can actually buy your own Kurata for $1.4 million.
However, the Megabots’ Eagle Prime is not for sale. This was built from scratch with the support of generous Kickstarter backers to make this duel a reality. Eagle Prime weights 12 tons and stands at 16 feet tall. It has two seats for a pilot and a gunner.
It’s faster compared to the MK. II Megabots’ had originally built and features a giant claw alongside a powerful cannon arm that shoots massive paintballs. But these arms can also be swapped for an 8-foot chainsaw or a large drill.
On Wednesday morning, we will see a historic battle that was once only seen in the realm of science fiction. You can catch the fight in all its glory on Twitch. But in case you miss it, the fight will later be available on YouTube and social media.
But will it be the first step towards the dream Megabot’s cofounders Gui Cavalcanti and Matt Oehrlein have of giant robot battle tournaments? If this televised battle becomes a success, then it might be possible. In fact, a Chinese team has also challenged Megabots to a duel with their robot called the Monkey King.
But for now, we’re setting our alarms for 7 AM on Wednesday (18th of October) because that’s when we’ll see the Eagle Prime and Kurata clash.
So which team are you rooting for? The American Megabots and their Eagle Prime? The Japanese Suidobashi and their Kurata? Let us know in the comments below.