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)

Advertising Technology Websites

Posted on Mon Mar 29, 2004


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  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. 😊
Posted by Derek  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  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  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  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  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  01:51 AM
Hey guys! this website is sooo cool! But the first thing I thought when I saw it, was that the technology the robot uses to balance is just way too advanced.
No one in academic research, to my knowledge, has been successful with bi-pedal motion for human plus sized robots - it is very difficult to get their balance correct.
And for me to believe that not only one man, working alone, was able to solve this problem, but also, to create a robot that can stop the momentum of a car one handed while KEEPING its balance? I don't know. But its great science fiction!
Posted by Dawn  on  Fri Sep 16, 2005  at  09:25 AM
Hoax, not a hoax... The creator of the video is the only one with the power to prove if it is real or not.
Posted by Mike  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  02:00 PM
The people out there who claim it is real.


If anyone was capable of making humanoid robots that could do that, they would be making it public. It would be splashed across websites and the newspapers.

You obviously have no idea of how complicated robots are. To make one that can drive around and follow things itself is extremely difficult. This is obviously fake.

And to the people who are worried that robots will get out of control and hurt someone, I strongly encourge you to shoot yourselves, as you have just identified yourself as the dumbest individuals on the planet.

And to the even dumber people who claim that it is real and that it was built to save people...

I've changed my mind.

YOU are now the dumbest people on the planet.

Go and do something painful to yourself.

And the person who said something aout God:


Thank you.

I still can't beleive you are so stupid.
Posted by Ian  on  Tue Nov 29, 2005  at  05:40 PM
I just watched some of these videos and I am 100% convinced that this is a hoax! it looks like it was computer Genarated! just watch the videos and u will see that the Mecha looks like it was pasted in to the picture.... I even had a second opinon and at first thay did suspect it to be CGI but when thay looked at it again they knew it was pure CGI and if u cant see that then u need your eyes examined!
Posted by Shasui  on  Sun Dec 04, 2005  at  04:50 AM
This is definetly a composite piece. As for CGI well thats debatable with the quality of the footage. The same results could of been done with extremely clever frame by frame animation using a closed shop to get this done and having the mecha partialy backlit for frame reference. This would be possable even if the mecha could not successfully move great distance and using a large green screen which can give the impression of CGI. As for touting it over the press, they wouldnt do that till they have reverse engineered and patented what components they could then patent the machine as a whole unit. This proccess can take quiet a few years as they have to search through patents to check for validity of patent claims and such.
Posted by The Gopher  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  07:20 AM
ok so if you see the movies you can see that this is cgi you cant doubt that. i dont know about the people saying they got saved from a car accident by a robot maybe they work for the company or something. and if you think that this is real you should open your mind further, as much as i would love to have it be real its not going to happen. but it is plausible to have a biped robot of that caliber built (not out of a mini cooper). you just need to make some extra modifications in the robot i believe it will run just fine but not as smooth as the one who stopped that car in one of the videos it moves way to smoothly for a robot especially a robot of that size. and a man with that kind of knolegde would worry more about what it does instead of puting a couple of tires on its shoulder (which do nothing but make the robot heavier for its legs) and a transformer esc look. really if you look and the video closely and listen when the robots turn on the lights it doesnt make a sound of its metal foot hitting the ground you would think that it would. i do give kudos to the guys that did the cgi it was very good.
Posted by spectre  on  Thu Dec 15, 2005  at  07:34 PM
you people should find your answers here.... - 2k -

check it out.
Posted by rrivas23  on  Sun Jan 01, 2006  at  03:20 AM
I personally like the "Chile Red" model, really gives it a good stance don't ya think (thick-headed morons, maybe the terrorists had a point).
Posted by rrivas23  on  Sun Jan 01, 2006  at  03:30 AM
Posted by Vincenzo  on  Thu Feb 02, 2006  at  08:13 AM
I can't believe people are still commenting on this. I read the booklet in Motor Trend years ago and got completely sucked in. I loved the whole thing and really wish more advertizing campaigns were as clever and entertaining as this one. Once and for all, yes, this is not real (although I still REALLY want to believe it is). However, the brilliance of this advertisement makes up for the fact that it is all pretend.
Posted by Pwnerer  on  Mon Feb 13, 2006  at  02:19 AM
ALmost everyone here is out of there minds. I havent even seen the video because it is removed but I will tell you this. Just from listening to the people here that have given actual fact, this is marketing 101. All the others who are trying to claim it is real swear they know it is but there information gomes from there grandmothers sisters hair stylist. He said she said. Listen Jery is were that is at. Leave inteligent conversation to those who are capable.
Posted by :) To funy  on  Fri Jun 16, 2006  at  01:54 AM
This is a viral marketing campaign. I e-mailed "colin mayhew" at one point congratulating him on the quality of his 'fake' but pointing out there were inaccurate shadows in the rendering of the 'robot' in some of the scenes.

My e-mail subsequently turned up on the web page of the ad agency that created it, complete with e-mail address and telephone number. Following that, a Japanese tv crew who were doing a documentary about robots actually called me, thinking that I somehow knew how to contact "Mr Mayhew" to give them access to the robot!

I called the ad agency, congratulated them yet again, and asked them to remove my contact details from the e-mail.


nah I made that all up. The robot's real. I bought one for my theme park to go with all the dinosaurs we have successfully bred from DNA extracted from prehistoric mosquitos.
Posted by robot guy  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  06:55 PM
Wow!! look people this is a hoax. If you knew cg animation you can tell without a doubt that it is not real. Plus here is the link to the studio who created it and it's on their portfolio.
Anyways you have to study the light, shadows and reflection attributes in the video.

Now I am not saying that robots of this caliber is not possible I am just saying you can't always believe what you see especially in film or video, because people like us are paid to fool you:)
Posted by Rene  on  Fri Sep 01, 2006  at  10:49 PM

for those still wanting to see this rather entertaining hoax, here is a way to see an archived copy.

for something much more real and just as entertaining though, check out and how they are archiving the whole net (more or less... they are the ones that archived the site and thats the link I gave), incredibly informative to those that know a bit about computer hardware and mass storage at the multiterabyte and beyond levels...

For those saying they know this hoax is real my advice is get a life, start learning real information. it's much more entertaining in the long term.
Posted by Jaqie  on  Fri Sep 29, 2006  at  09:15 PM
Okay, it's time I comment on this officially. I am the inventor of this mini cooper robot. It is real. Please stop the argueing. I never wanted to cause any conflict with this invention--you must understand though, making this robot design become public is quite the job, because of all the red-tape since I used actual mini coopers to make it. All the liscencing nightmares... But I am working to get past that so that we can fully and freely develop these.
Posted by Colin  on  Mon Dec 04, 2006  at  09:27 AM
Well so that is it huh, You are the designer, it has yet to be publicaly released, blah blah. Yea OK! First if in fact you were the designer and it was not yet released to the public due to any form of red tape, you would and could not comment here or anywhere on it without being sued. The physics of the idea and design are very wrong. At best a mechanical arm or somthing to that effect was created but with mini cooper parts? Uhm why? That would financially make little to no sense at all. So you mean to tell me that you take 5 40-50 thousand dollar cars not counting all the (Advanced)computer hardware and software that would be required. I think not. This whole thing is about as believable as the fact that I was born on pluto son of the gaurdian of the galaxy and was sent here to protect earth from a population of alien whales that are trying to take her over. Whatever have fun with this tale!
Posted by NOYB  on  Tue Dec 05, 2006  at  07:19 PM
This is the real deal! I am in the process of converting my GMC Z-71 into a giant Decepticon mecha which will also be able to transform into a giant missle. As soon as I am finished We will fly over to Britain and kick some mini ass. And of course steal his purple energy cubes.
Posted by Chuck Norris  on  Mon Feb 19, 2007  at  08:29 PM
My god... how much confusion is this video causing...

It is not real, I'm a CG and video composer artist and I have done more convincing stuff than that. Lighting setup, shadows, and reflections are well done however they are not perfect, there are many things such as reflection, shadow, motion blur, light tracing and depth of field imperfections.

It is posible to make it more reallistic, but clearly, the guys who did that video as well as me; had a deadline to finish the job.

And lastly; anyone who has a bit of mechanical or ingeniering knowledge would inmediately note how fantastic the joints of that robot are. There too many things missing; servos, pneumatic or hydraulic cilinders, etc., without those components the machine would move only with the help of magic. Plus, there are energy issues, as to power such machine, it'll have to be plugged to a power line permanently... infact the invention of such mobile power supply would be a more interesting new than the robot itself, since there many japanese humanoid transforming toys already in the market.


Posted by Tenkken  on  Tue Mar 04, 2008  at  12:50 PM
Don't worry J Neuman, there's no one smart enough in the US to come up with an ad campaign this clever, let alone a giant mini based robot! There's thick, really thick, retarded, vegatables and then you J!
Posted by P Buckley  on  Sun Apr 10, 2011  at  09:06 AM
It's funny people come on website about hoax's to say "this is not a hoax" lol
Posted by Jimbo  on  Mon Jan 23, 2012  at  12:35 AM
Comments: Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.