Ahead of an electric motorcycle, Kawasaki shows off an electric goat robot with a human rider
If I didn’t know better, I’d think Kawasaki was doing everything it could to delay giving the world a new electric motorcycle. Instead of an awesome two-wheeler, Kawasaki just rolled out a four-legger in the form of a goat robot.
Well there’s a brand new sentence.
Kawasaki unveils robotic goat
The new robot is known as the Bex, which appears to be short for Ibex, a type of North African and Middle Eastern goat.
The Bex robot was just unveiled at the 2022 International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo.
The robot is a quadruped, with Kawasaki demonstrating its slow but steady walking ability at the show.
The Bex robot moves similarly to Boston Dynamics’ famous four-legged dog robots, though not nearly as quickly or elegantly.
Unlike a real ibex (as far as I can tell), Kawasaki’s Bex comes with an added feature of wheeled knees.
When the robot kneels down and deploys a pair of drive wheels under its belly, it can drive around instead of walking. The omni-directional knee wheels and dual center drive wheels also give the robot the ability to perform a tank-steer maneuver, or turn in place.
The Bex robot was outfitted with a passenger-carrying back and handlebars that support a rider up to 100 kg (220 lb), with the rider able to control the robot via the handlebars.
Kawasaki claimed that the robot can also have other modular upper bodies, meaning it could likely be outfitted with cargo-carrying attachments instead of a human-carrying saddle.
There’s no word yet on whether or not the goat head is optional.
You’ll probably want to check out the video below to watch it in action. It’s all but guaranteed to be one of the weirder things you see today.
The move towards robots might sound strange, but it’s becoming a common trend in the industry. Even Tesla has gotten on board with its plans to develop a humanoid robot.
Amid an on-going labor shortage, many companies are looking to replace human labor with robots. Amazon famously uses a fleet of robots in its warehouses, and many restaurants have begun testing out robotic waiters as food delivery workers. US companies ordered around 29,000 robots last year, according to Business Insider.
Kawasaki is of course better known for its motorcycles than its robots, and the company is making progress on electric motorcycle development.
Late last year, Kawasaki’s CEO Hiroshi Ito claimed that the company would unveil three new electric motorcycles in 2022.
That follows news of several electric motorcycle prototypes that Kawasaki has demonstrated. From what we know of early performance specs though, the numbers would imply that other electric motorcycle manufacturers like Zero and Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire don’t have much to worry about yet in terms of high performance competition.
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