The Transformers franchise – a media and toy conglomerate that introduced a generation of kids to the automotive world – now has a working, transforming prototype. But don’t worry, it’s not going to go anywhere fast. At least not yet. Takara Tomy, the Japanese company behind the global franchise, partnered with Brave Robotics and Asratec to create a working, rideable transforming robot. Yup, you read that right. A real-life, working Transformer you can ride. Sign me up and take my money.
There’s a video showing the J-deite Ride prototype in motion, and it’s captivating to watch. The actual transformation – from car to 13-foot-tall humanoid robot – isn’t as fast as Michael Bay would like – and there are far fewer explosions and witty one-liners. The whole transformation takes about one minute, but it’s still impressive watching the two occupants disappear into the belly of the beast. You can tell this is a prototype as the robot’s head pops out and kind of crashes into place, but it works.
The next Transformers movie will likely stick to real-world cars and CGI robots for now. However, Asratec plans on building and distributing the J-deite Ride around the world, integrating the robot ride into theme park attractions. Right now, the robot isn’t based on any particular Transformers character – Autobot, Decepticon, or otherwise. But that doesn’t mean you can't design one later to be Bumblebee or Optimus Prime.
This isn’t a stationary ride either. In car mode, the J-deite has a maximum speed of 37 miles per hour. In robot mode, it can travel up to 18 mph when rolling on wheels. It can walk in robot form but at a tortoise-like 0.06 mph. That’s painfully slow. This ride would show up late to any robot boss battle. There are no details about the robot's propulsion.
If anything, the J-deite Ride is fun – as it’s supposed to be. You know how many kids would drag their parents to the local theme park if you could ride in a real Transformer? It’d be a boon. The Transformers franchise has been around for over 30 years. There’s a rabid fan base of toy collectors, kids, and people who enjoy the TV shows, comics, and movies. This took four years to build, and it’s pretty darn cool. I'd line up to try it.