Panasonic's Evolta bot completes 300-mile trek

Mr. Evolta makes it to Kyoto. But Tim Hornyak wants to know when he'll go head to head with the Energizer Bunny?

Keeps going and going: Evolta poses by Sanjo-Ohashi bridge in Kyoto. Panasonic
Panasonic's robo-mascot, Mr. Evolta, can notch another feat in his plastic backpack. He's just completed a 300-mile trek from Tokyo to Kyoto, reaching the ancient capital ahead of schedule.

The 7-inch-tall humanoid, designed by Tomotaka Takahashi, traveled along the old Tokaido high road, which was a kind of Route 66 during Japan's medieval age.

Screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

He hauled 12 AA Evolta batteries in a two-wheeled cart and followed an infrared signal from a device pushed by human teammates walking beside him. See a vid here.

With a top speed of 2-3 mph, Mr. Evolta reached the goal of the Sanjo Ohashi bridge in Kyoto more than two weeks ahead of schedule. He was on the road for two months, and was allowed only one battery recharge per day.

For a publicity stunt, the marathon certainly topped the droid's Grand Canyon climb just for the sheer number of people who turned out to cheer him on. The route took him along many schools, attracting kids and adults alike.

Little Evolta also set an endurance record last year at the Le Mans circuit in France by cycling around it for 24 hours. For his next feat, I'd like to see him duke it out with the Energizer Bunny.

About the author

Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.

 

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