Japanese Robots Will Run In First-Ever Full-Length Robot Marathon

Robo Runner

Robots like Robovie-PC will be used to run the first-ever robot marathon.Vstone

Marathoners may sometimes seem like robots, with their single-minded focus and obsessive dedication to finishing their goal. Now some actual robots in Japan are gearing up for a marathon of their own.

The research firm Vstone is putting together the world's first robot marathon, involving 422 laps around a 100-meter track. Imagine this little robo-scurry on a 42-kilometer scale.

The video shows Vstone's Robovie-PC robot autonomously following a line. Marathon competitors will either "run" autonomously like this bot, or they may be operated by humans using remote controls, according to Vstone. The event's time, date and place are still to be determined.

As Singularity Hub points out, it's more like a robot NASCAR, because the rules allow competitors to replace worn parts and count the entire time, including stops, in the robot's official score.

The total distance is 26.2 miles, so odds are some robot feet, gears and motors may be wearing out.

The Robovie will be a tough competitor, with its 20 degrees of freedom and 1.3 megapixel headcam, which helps it navigate. The robot's 1.6 GHz processor gives it the computing power of a standard PC, and it can connect to the Internet.

It might not be as fun as a ballet or a robo soccer game, but endurance trials can help test robots' durability, which will probably be more important than a single trick once we welcome them into our lives.