This post has been updated with comments from MegaBots.
It seems that we are about to see two giant robots fight.
Just a few days after an American robotics company, MegaBots, challenged Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industries to a robot duel, we have a response from the company.
“Yeah, I’ll fight,” Suidobashi’s CEO and founder Kogoro Kurata said on YouTube. “Absolutely.”
Kurata didn’t seem entirely impressed by MegaBots robot. ”It’s super American,” he said. And just a few hours after the Japanese were defeated by the US in the Women’s World Cup final, Kurata released a video. Draped in a Japanese flag, he echoed the country’s deep-seated love of robots in their culture, saying: “We can’t let another country win this—giant robots are Japanese culture.”
But Kurata also upped the ante on the fight. He doesn’t want to duel with paintballs, but with actual weapons. “You know what we really need: melee combat. If we’re gonna win this, I want to punch them to scrap and knock them down to do it.”
While MegaBots haven’t yet agreed to Suidobashi’s new terms, it’d be very un-American to back down from any sort of fight, especially an arms race. MegaBots’ co-founder Gui Cavalcanti told Quartz that the fight is on. The two teams will need to work on ground rules, however, to figure out “how not to die.”
It’s still not clear, however, where this duel will take place—do international robot battles have to take place on neutral ground, or international waters? Do you need a robot referee for a robot fight? Will we be able to buy tickets?
While there many questions left unanswered, for now it seems that we will see Japan face the US in the new sport of robot dueling in about a year. Perhaps the two countries can choose Rio as a venue for the battle and show off their skills to the International Olympic Committee—who knows, in the future, robot fighting could be an Olympic event. It’d sure beat curling.
Update (July 6, 12:05 pm): MegaBots’ co-founder Gui Cavalcanti has told Quartz that they are ready to fight:
The fight is on. We have to work out the ground rules, and figure out how to not die, but the fight is on. We’ll be releasing more information soon as we work through some of the logistics.