If you’re one of Amazon’s competitors, be afraid. Be very afraid. Jeff Bezos, the Seattle-based online giant’s billionaire founder, has tweeted a picture of himself at the controls of a giant robot. And he’s smiling.
This robot isn’t designed to deliver packages: It’s the 14-foot-tall Method-2 robot, developed at Hankook Mirae Technology’s lab near Seoul in South Korea.
To create the 1.5-ton monstrosity, Hankook Mirae’s engineers worked with Hollywood robot designer Vitaly Bulgarov, who has been involved in mech-monster movie franchises such as Transformers, RoboCop and Terminator.
Method-2 is controlled by a pilot who sits inside a cockpit in the robot’s torso, as Bezos demonstrates in the picture he tweeted.
The contraption been compared to the exoskeletons seen in such movies as “Avatar” and “Aliens,” or the giant Gundam robots from Japan’s popular anime TV series.
Last December, AFP quoted Hankook Mirae’s chairman, Yang Jin-Ho, as saying that Method-2 serves as the prototype for a breed of robots that could take on tasks “in extreme hazardous areas where humans cannot go.” Some have even speculated, hopefully jokingly, that the robot could be deployed at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.
Yang said he expected the robot to be ready for sale by the end of 2017, at an estimated price of $8.3 million (10 billion South Korean won). At the time, Bulgarov said there was a real-world application already in development, “but I’m not allowed to say more at this moment.”
Is Bezos in the market? It seems unlikely, but the Amazon CEO (and founder of the Blue Origin space venture) hinted at one potential application in his tweet’s hashtag: #Mars2017.
I just got to pilot an awesome (and huge) robot thanks to Hankook Mirae Technology. Nice! #MARS2017 pic.twitter.com/MvN6ghEYFi
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) March 20, 2017