Huge humanoid robot hired to repair railways (video)

Originally published at:


“For Now”

Also handy for the next Kaiju invasion.


Where’s Waldo?

Of course, this is how mecha get their start in Patlabor; it starts with labour, and ends with militarized police.


Here’s the official presentation. Skip to 7 minutes in to see the robot in action.

Video swiped from

It was developed by Jinki Ittai (Man-Machine Synergy Effectors Co., Ltd.), which was set up in 2007 by Dr. Katsuya Kanaoka, a robotics reseracher at Ritsumeikan University in Kusatsu city. JR West bought into the company in May 2020 and in April 2021 the announced the start of development of the Zero Type Human Machine, a “general-purpose humanoid heavy machinery for high-altitude heavy work in the railway field”, which was based on their prototype “PF06 Spatial Heavy Work Human Machine Social Implementation Platform”. This would co-developed with JR West and Nippon Electric Signal Co. (the ‘Nesco’ branding seen on the machine), who also bacame a shareholder in October 2022.

The first prototype, Zero Type Human Machine V2.0, started testing in April 2022 on JR West’s Kusatsu Training Line (which is where the earlier video comes from). In November 2023, the second prototype Zero Type 2 Human Machine V1.0 was unvelied (whichis the one doing the rounds in today’s news). They also announced another derivative of the Zero Type Human Machine that was being developed with Takenaka Civil Engineering Co., Ltd. and Tohoku Electric Power Network Co., Ltd for working on overhead power distribution networks.

It’s an example of what happens when a generation of kids who grew up watching ‘giant mecha’ anime like Macross, Gundam and Evangelion grow up to be scientists and engineers.


I don’t know if this is practical and I’m not sure I care and I feel like it’s about time. Like this should’ve happened before the crappy AI, NFT, Crypto shit.


It’s very appropriate the Japan manifested a staple of anime and manga into the real world.


According to posts on RailUK Forums, this is a way of dealing with labour shortages (without mass immigration).

Japan has a particular problem with the birth rate collapsing and are forced into spending money on automating or mechanising where they can. In other countries where staff are available a gang of workers with chain saws is going to be more economical to clear lineside trees and undergrowth than using hugely expensive machinery.


That’s also very Japanese!


Slightly disappointing.


It was a warm summer afternoon. They sat on the front porch eating ice cream,
watching the machines walk by.

The boy looked up at the man and asked “Dad, who makes all the robots?”

“The robots do,” the man said.

“Then who makes the robots who make the other robots?” asked the boy.

“Well, other robots, that’s the way it’s always been.”

“But where did the first robots come from?” demanded the boy.

The man took a bite of his cone and thought for a moment. “I don’t suppose I know.
Some think it was humans.”

“But Dad,” the boy said, “people don’t know how to make robots.”

“Yep.” the father replied.

It was a warm summer afternoon. They sat in silence on the front porch eating ice cream,
watching the machines walk by.


Wish PG&E were this innovative. But they prefer to spend our money on compensation packages rather than infrastructure.


… it’s not a “robot,” it’s a very complicated bucket truck — that’s probably safer for the operator than being physically in the bucket :truck:


Get in the fucking railway repair robot Shinji!


Practical?! This is Sparta!

I mean Japan!


I was reminded of a scene from a movie where another giant humanoid robot was fixing some train tracks, but it didn’t go well for him or for the train.



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