We witnessed the birth of various robots in the past years, including the Kime Robot at MWC 2022, which can function as an effective food-serving humanoid robot in restos, bars, and cafes. There’s also Spot of Boston Dynamics that Hyundai found helpful in inspecting the safety inside its factories. These robots are built for specific purposes and now, we have another one: Kawasaki Bex.
Bex is part of the Kaleido project, stemming from Kawasaki’s Robust Humanoid Platform. It is a quadruped robot inspired by the wild goat ibex in the mountainous regions of Africa and Eurasia. At first glance, you will notice the similarity of the robot to the said animal with its curved horns (though Kawasaki mentioned that the head can be removed or replaced with another animal head). Nonetheless, it comes with a white interior and flashing lights down its neck, making it appear futuristic despite its animal form.
Bex comes with four legs that can move in two different ways. In the 2022 International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo, the Bex was introduced while walking on all fours. Though the speed of the robot wasn’t that impressive, Kawasaki pronounced that the walking configuration of Bex is not meant for smooth surfaces: it is for uneven and challenging terrains. After that, the team changed its configuration, causing it to bend its legs and use the four wheels on the knees. Bex also comes with another set of wheels under its abdomen, allowing it to maneuver the area easily.
According to Kawasaki, Bex can handle up to 10 kilograms of weight. With this, the company hopes that the robot can be helpful in specific fields, especially in carrying loads or cargo. And to demonstrate its capacity, Bex carried one of the engineers in the event under the walking configuration while avoiding obstacles around. Mounting Bex and keeping your balance while riding it is also easy, thanks to the integrated handles and its ability to squat down.
In the end, the Japanese public multinational corporation didn’t mention anything about its top speed or any plan to manufacture the robot. But in any case it would be put in the market, could it really serve its purpose with pure efficiency given the performance it showed in the event? We’ll see that in the future.