Giant robots from Japan and the US just battled — and a new champion reigns

Key Points
  • U.S. robotics company MegaBots and Japan's Suidobashi Heavy Industries faced off in a giant fighting robot showdown
  • The Japanese team had a decisive win in the first round when its Kurata robot took down an older MegaBots model
  • But in the main fight, MegaBots' multi-million dollar Eagle Prime robot reigned

Team U.S.A. toppled Japan at the first-ever giant fighting robot showdown.

American robotics company MegaBots and its Japanese rival, Suidobashi Heavy Industries, fought for technological superiority in a battle that was streamed online Tuesday evening.

In the first round, Suidobashi's Kurata robot effortlessly knocked out an older MegaBots robot with a single punch, giving the Japanese team a decisive edge.

But the main fight, between the Kurata and MegaBots' new multi-million dollar, massive Eagle Prime, ended in favor of the Americans.

Eagle Prime, bigger and heavier than the Kurata, produced a chainsaw that systematically took out the Japanese robot until the match was ended and the winner announced.

The MegaBots team expressed hope for a formal fighting robot league in the future after the match.

A challenge two years in the making 

Two years ago, MegaBots challenged Suidobashi Heavy Industries, to a duel between their giant robots. Suidobashi had accepted but added a condition of its own: melee combat must be a part of the fight.

To make sure its robot was up to the task for hand-to-hand combat, MegaBots started a Kickstarter to upgrade its Mk.II robot, which was built mostly for long-range paintball combat. It raised about $554,600 in crowdfunding from nearly 8,000 backers.

In August the company officially introduced the Eagle Prime robot. It weighs in at 12 tons (24,000 pounds), is 16 feet tall and can seat two pilots. The machine is powered by a 430 horsepower V8 LS3 engine and costs $2.5 million, according to the company.

Suidobashi's Kurata robots, according to PC Mag, weigh 6.5 tons and is about 13 feet tall. When responding to MegaBots' initial challenge two years ago, Suidobashi CEO and founder, Kogoro Kurata had said his team couldn't let another country win because giant robots were part of Japanese culture.

MegaBots co-founder, Brinkley Warren, told CNBC in 2015 that the fight could potentially pave the way for a fighting robot league and a billion-dollar sport.


— CNBC's Arjun Kharpal contributed to reporting.