The Mini Cooper Autonomous Robot

image Colin Mayhew, an engineer at a British division of BMW, decided to convert a mini cooper r50 into an autonomous biped robot. The results are quite impressive. In particular, check out this video. The no-frills design of the page makes it seem quite believable. But sleuths on Slashdot have determined that it's a hoax. The url is registered to an ad agency working for BMW. (via Things Magazine)

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Posted on Mon Mar 29, 2004


M Wood... Real, as in a real advertisment. Fake as in THERE'S NO MINI ROBOT. Don't you think that this would be front page news by now if it was real?
Posted by Drunk Stepdad  on  Fri Sep 10, 2004  at  03:04 AM
If you want to see a REAL mecha checkout this site, sure its shameless, but not as shameless as intentionally trying to dupe people with a CG Mecha which is totally fake, a good fake, but a fake nonetheless. Kudos to the rednerers of that fake! The NMX04-1A is quite real and shall soon be seen by the world as it debuts upon its completion. If you dont think that mecha are an inevitability, think again.
Posted by Charles Alvarez  in  Alaska, USA  on  Tue Sep 21, 2004  at  06:25 PM
this robot is real. yaaaaay
Posted by bob  on  Thu Dec 30, 2004  at  06:41 PM
The argument that this must be fake because "its not all over the news!" is false based on precedent alone. When Honda introduced their bipedal robots back in the mid 90's they received very little coverage until several years later.
Posted by craig  in  san francisco  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  05:13 PM
This Mini Cooper robot thing is a really cool idea. I am currently tryig to reaserch it for a project on hoaxes. It seems to me like a lot of work to put into making this whole thing up, especially with that "Man of Metal" insert. The video on the website itself shows a shadow formed by the robot but not by the car. If this was a hoax and the robot was digitally put in, wouldn't the editor notice somthing as glaring as that??? There are also the eyewittness accounts which are questionable as well. When I get some more solid evidence I will relay it.
Posted by Thomas  on  Wed Jan 12, 2005  at  10:57 PM
Okay. Enough! I think I ought to step in here now. I am from the company that made the advert. We filmed in a disused warehouse a few months ago. The Landrover was actually the fake. The shadows were placed incorrectly, which was realised too late. The robot was actually REAL and WAS made from the Mini parts. However, the big black cable connecting it was liquorice. The robot could only be run on black liquorice. There were NOT computers running it! Our control unit for it consisted of a hampster running on a wheel, with a dynamo connected. This generated the 6vdc required to power this 3 tonne machine. Also, to keep the weight down, the entire machine was made out of cornflake boxes and sticky back plastic. So now you know!
Now back to breaking out of this damned padded cell....
Posted by Dave Francis  in  UK  on  Sat Jan 15, 2005  at  02:54 PM
......all robots are evil. EVIL!!!

Their in the pipes you know. Just watching me. Waiting. Waiting. They want to hurt me. Evil pipe monsters are everywhere. Controlled by the imps. They live in the plumbing. Help

<that was an excerpt taken from the mind of one of the believers of the story>

Posted by Dave Francis  in  UK  on  Sat Jan 15, 2005  at  03:04 PM
-----That was an excerpt from the mind of one of the believers of the initial story-----
Posted by Dave  on  Sat Jan 15, 2005  at  03:07 PM
you all got pwnd!!!!!!!1111111oneoneoneKEKEKEKEK^____^
Posted by Billy  in  Here  on  Sat Jan 22, 2005  at  04:28 AM
It's a hoax. I'm a mechanical engineer who did a Master's in robotics. Balance is still beyond us. Most walking robots have been pre-programmed and if you nudge them they would fall. The robotics research community never heard of it (and my group has read many many papers, no mention of this), meaning its not real, and there's nothing to support it. The robotic arm dexteritiy test isn't much of a test. You can purchase an arm like that from Kuka or many other companies for $50,000, and program it. Lastly, and this is the giveaway, try to go to the very top page, and it redirects to the very page in question... why would it do that? You can figure it out. Balance seems natural to us but we're just at the tip of the iceberg!
Posted by Peabody  in  Chicago, Illinois  on  Fri Feb 04, 2005  at  06:47 PM
Alright, I'll buy the lighting argument. However, weather or not this thing exists, I do find it hard to believe there hasn't been any leaks as to the where-abouts, and no media coverage of the thing opperating.

Also, these stories about "so-and-so's life was saved by a giant robot" are crap. If this guy who's built this thing was any sort of respectible engineer, he wouldn't have just cut it lose on the roads. There would have been legal matters to deal with, and most likely he would have held an ceremony of some sort to commemorate the activation of the first roadside assistance robot.

And, to further stab at you dopes who believe this crap, I've watched that video, and read the stuff on how it works using flywheels to store kinetic energy and whatnot. Even if he could walk, and think for it's self in any sort of manner, there's no way it would be able to completely lift a vehicle from the ground. It just lacks the structural integrity to do something like that.

So, what's my conclusion? All you who believe this is real are dopes, and everyone else, koodos for being smart enough to look around and get the real facts.
Posted by Josh  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  01:27 AM
BTW, looks like Citroen made their own robot, and it even transforms!
Posted by Josh  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  03:10 AM
Actually, The link for that robot is here

It's even more realistic looking than the Mini-Cooper Transforming.....this one is REAL I SWEAR!!!!LOL....Cuz, see, one time, my cousins Grandmother was having tea, and she told me that she had a Citreon, and she pressed a flashy button, and saved a brigde from falling and crushing a family of pink three legged kittens!

Josh believes her, she won't stop talking about it.....I wish the old hag would shut it!

So two weeks ago, she was talking about it again...and i just couldn't handle I beat the old lady with her own cane...where was the robot then???
Posted by Ryan  in  Cumby TX  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  01:47 PM
Ok ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, aaaaand the two drunks in the back row. Heres my take on the situation from my observations alone, First of all I believe and know that we do have the technology to create such things as this robot here, and all quite easily if you know what parts you need and where to get them, however most people dont take the time to realize that a good portion of the parts to make a simple robot lie all around their house, so why not someone who has a whole slew of vehicle and motor parts lying around the warehouse and an inordinately large amount of free time on their hands? Ok now that I've made note of the positive things let me give away this guys secret by telling you the damning and conclusive evidence that what he has here is a hoax. Look at the segment of where the robot catches the car, and observe the lighting, no it has nothing to do with shadows etc. though I will admit that those were artfully done if nothing else, but pay attention to the reflection on the car window itself. See anything missing? And even if the lighting were placed somewhere else, the very size of the robot itself would still cast a reflection in the windows, even if it was just its head, especially if you know a thing or two about relative math applications comparing differing sizes of matter and reflective properties of glass. So if this isn't a hoax, wheres the robots reflection on the glass? For it not to have a reflection at all in the side windows, the lighting itself would inevitably HAVE to be on the opposite side of the vehicle as the robot facing DIRECTLY towards the robot itself, so bravo to the gentleman who set this whole thing up, for a moment you almost had me fooled.....almost.

Posted by Glaredog  on  Fri Mar 18, 2005  at  09:54 PM
"aaaaand the two drunks in the back row" - Glaredog

Umm, there's only one of me, I'm not THAT fat.
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Fri Mar 18, 2005  at  10:06 PM
I know this is real. Amerika has an evil robot that has TAKEN CONTROL OF THE COUNTRY! It looks like a 40-something frat-boy but it has become OUR PRESIDENT! Who is pushing the buttons? The DEMOCRATS! They made a robot that looks and sounds dumb so that you would RUN AWAY FROM IT! And into the liberal-loving arms of the DEMOCRATIC AGENDA!

They want your kids to become HOMO-SE*UALS and make babies with DIVERSE PEOPLES!
Posted by Hootie  in  Amerika  on  Wed Apr 13, 2005  at  06:58 AM
Bravo! This has to be the most entertaining run of threads I've read in a long time. I'd have to say hoax as well, having only seen the arm video. It's the same type of arm they've been using to build Minis since Jesus killed all those Martians. Jesus drove a Mini. And his Mini transformed into that R50 robot and saved Mary Magdalene. It threw rocks at the Jews. I had tea with Jesus and the robot just yesterday. Delicious. The robot's tea corrupted his systems and he had to ask Optimus Prime for help. Jesus saves.
Posted by Random Guy  in  Uranus  on  Mon Apr 25, 2005  at  02:46 AM
I drive a Mini. I want my Mini to miraculously turn into a giant robot and save me from killing myself if I lose control and veer off of a road in Oxford. But if it transforms with me inside, won't that crush me? And, according to the robot's programming, wouldn't that go against his primary protocol? By causing the death of the one he was programmed to protect, would he then be forced to self-destruct? Is it a he? Holy crap. I need to hit this pipe again.
Posted by Me  on  Mon Apr 25, 2005  at  02:51 AM
I found this site to be very curious when I first ran across it. But it was obvious when I saw the 'car stopping' video that this was another viral marketing campaign, just like the Fallon agency's Lee jeans campaign a few years back (remember and

The movements of this robot are too fluid for todays technology. Look at Sony's Qrio and judge for yourself. This Mini is straight out of a Hollywood feature film. The flamefest you're having regarding the validity of this website is exactly what viral marketing is made for.
Posted by Jason  in  Calgary  on  Sat May 07, 2005  at  09:20 AM
Jason, are YOU a DEMOC-RAT? You claim this is a marketing joke but a real AMERI-CAN! would think for themselves and see past the SMOKE & MIRRORS!

I hope you haven't used your real name 'cause the COMPUTERS and the ROBOTS are one and the same. They will find you and destroy YOU! I disconnect my Chevy's battery every night just to be sure it doesn't try anything FUNNY while I sleep!

Hootie (not MY real name)
Posted by Hootie  in  AMERI-CA!  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  10:40 PM
Look at the dive (or lack thereof) on the vehicle as it stops.. there is almost none...completely inconsistent with ANY road worthy vehicle... not only that but the shading is consistent with early 90s computer graphics... The shadow is consistent with a single point light source...probably from the artificial sun also located in the warehouse but off camera... and for such a violent stop that driver gets out of the vehicle just a little too fast.
Posted by unillenium  on  Sat Jun 04, 2005  at  04:26 AM
For those of you that think this is real, your all idiots. Thats all I wanted to say. smile
Posted by Derek  in  california  on  Sun Jun 05, 2005  at  08:32 PM
Man this guy stole my idea. In 1985 I built a traler house that transformed into a robot. Since I had to invest all my money into the robo trailer I couldn
Posted by prof. dave  in  secret  on  Sun Jul 03, 2005  at  05:13 AM
boys this is a the hell do you make a robot outta a mini cooper...a gay robot from a gay car
Posted by whowantstoknow  in  south carolina  on  Thu Jul 07, 2005  at  08:05 PM
are u pppl u who manipultad by this gay??
false shadowing proves it animated. look on the november edition where he does the light test you'll see when he walks across the room his shadow does'nt seem to interact with the robot
simply: u should see part of his shadow on the robo's left leg when he made is way to the pwr button and good point some of u made if this was real would'nt there be hype about it and why pick a popular car to build it with?
Posted by scarface  on  Sun Jul 10, 2005  at  05:36 PM
haha im only 13 and im able to see this is hoax unlike some stubborn +30 year olds
Posted by scarface  on  Sun Jul 10, 2005  at  05:39 PM
machines cant learn. they can only do what they are programed to do. there is no sence in being scared or offended by scrap metal. if you cant see that this is a beautiful event, than you are seriously mistaken. the only thing we should be scared of is ourselves, the world would be better off with these puppets roaming the country side, programed to take care of the environment and its resources.
Posted by dave  on  Fri Jul 15, 2005  at  06:35 AM
So, just a few points:

Would you buy a Mini Cooper on the basis of this?

How much effort and money do you suppose went into it? One guy said you could "pick up" a robotic arm for $50,000. That's just the arm.

I don't for a minute believe the viral marketing story, just on a cost-benefit argument.

And the people going on about the shadows! I've seen expensive movies with worse CGI than this. This is EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD if it is a fake.

Notice the time taken on LIDAR and other stuff that most of us aren't interested in and has nothing to do with selling cars.

So, it's either an eccentric genius hoaxer, or an eccentric genius robotics guy called mayhew.
Posted by dr. dave  in  melbourne, australia  on  Wed Aug 17, 2005  at  12:38 AM
Its a hoax, here is definte proof
kind of a bummer, i wanted it to be real
Posted by Frank  in  Texas  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  01:51 AM
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