Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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South Koreans Build ‘Method v2,’ the World’s First Piloted Walking Robot

It's here at last

(Photo : Hankook Mirae Technology) Method v2 with its human pilot.

Built by a South Korean tech firm, the world's first manned, bipedal robot will go on sale by the end of this year and reminds one of the combat robots in the movie "Avatar."

The gigantic robot has been given the name "Method v2" by its makers, Hankook Mirae Technology, a South Korean robotics company.

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The phrase Hankook Mirae Technology translates into Korea Future Technology in English. The company slogan is "People that Create Robots."

The hulking Method v2 weighs 1.36 metric tons and makes the ground shake as it walks on both its coordinated mechanical legs. The robot stands four meters tall.

Method v2 is controlled by pilot sitting inside a cockpit in the robot's torso. Limb movements by the pilot are mimicked by the robot, whose metal arms each weigh 130 kilograms.

"Our robot is the world's first manned bipedal robot and is built to work in extreme hazardous areas where humans cannot go (unprotected)," said Hankook Mirae chairman Yang Jin-Ho.

He revealed Method v2 is only a year old and is thus taking its "first baby steps."

"Just like humans, it will be able to move more freely in the next couple of years," said Yang.

He said the robot will be ready for sale by the end of 2017 at a price of around $8.3 million each.

Yang said his company has already received inquiries about Method v2 from industries ranging from manufacturing and construction to entertainment.

He said he's also been asked by the South Korean military about deploying an armored and perhaps armed combat version of Method v2 along the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone with North Korea.

Hankook Mirae sees Method v2 as more of a test-bed for technologies that will allow it to build improved versions in the future.

The piloted robot was designed by Vitaly Bulgarov, who has designed robots and equipment for sci-fi movies such as Transformers, Robocop and Terminator.

"Everything we have been learning so far on this robot can be applied to solve real-world problems," said Bulgarov.

Avatar aficionados will at once notice the striking similarity of Method v2 to the "Mitsubishi MK-6 Amplified Mobility Platform" (or "AMP" suit) that battled the tribes of Pandora in the hit movie, Avatar.

"The human-operated multi-purpose machine amplifies the strength and mobility of a soldier or civilian worker while providing protection from military and environmental threats," said a description of the machine in a website about the movie.

"Unlike earlier designs in which weapons were integrated into limbs, the AMP suit is a multi-purpose machine, able to duplicate all functions of the infantry soldier. Since soldiers spend much of their time loading and unloading equipment, and performing other tasks besides operating weapons, it was determined that the AMP suit needed the same functionality as a human: two legs, two arms, and highly dexterous hands.

"This allows not only a wide range of functions, but allows the suit to operate a variety of weapons systems."

The AMP suit was "improved during military service in a myriad of combat theaters -- from arctic to jungle to desert -- over the decades. Sealed and pressurized models for toxic environments were developed as well."

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