Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, unveiled a model of the humanoid "Optimus" robot, which utilizes some of the same AI tools and sensors as the Autopilot driving assistance system in Tesla vehicles. Musk acknowledged that they had "a man in a suit" last year but promised something much more remarkable today at the beginning of Tesla's 2022 AI Day presentation.
Although this prototype is capable of more than what was demonstrated live, Musk claims that this performance was the first time it was used without a tether. In a Q&A session, Musk explained that Tesla is exceptionally skilled at developing the AI and the actuators required for robots based on its experience producing drive units for electric automobiles. He predicted it might eventually cost "probably less than $20,000." Musk claimed that would enable it to begin creating capable robots and test them in its facilities.
He asserted that Tesla's Optimus is made for mass production in the "millions" of units and to be very capable, setting it apart from other "quite amazing humanoid robot displays." Behind him, a group of employees was moving a non-walking prototype as he finished his sentence.
Initially, the stage's back doors opened to reveal a disassembled Optimus that Tesla refers to as "Bumble C," who stepped forward and performed a "raise the ceiling" dance motion. Musk acknowledged that they didn't want it to "fell flat on its face," make too many moves on stage, or be unsafe. (It would be best to steer clear of another Cybertruck sledgehammer incident.)
Following that, the business displayed a few videos of the robot performing other jobs, like picking up boxes.
Tesla's team then displayed the second prototype of Optimus, this time one that was "quite near to manufacturing." It was placed up on a platform and waved to the audience, demonstrating the range of mobility in its wrist and hand. Actuators, a battery pack, and everything else is still there in this unit, according to Musk, who said it "wasn't quite ready to walk" before being rolled off by a group of workers.
They disclosed that the first robot displayed had only been created in the last six months. They discuss challenges they must overcome to transition from a prototype to a functional design and say they want to "get this done within the next few months... or years."
It features Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity, a 2.3kWh battery pack, a Tesla SoC, and all of these features. The robot's joints, such as its hands, wrists, and knees, were the focus of demonstrations that illustrated how data for each joint was analyzed before looking for commonalities among designs to identify a technique that required only six distinct actuators. According to engineers, the "Biologically Inspired Design" of the human-like hands will make them better suited for picking up things of diverse shapes and sizes, holding a 20-point bag, and having a "precise grip" on minuscule components.
The Autopilot software from Tesla was transferred from its automobiles to the bot and redesigned to function in the new form and setting. Tesla motion captured humans performing actual chores, such as lifting a box and then used Optimus to replicate the movements using inverse kinematics. Then "online motion adaptation" is used to reduce the rigidity of these activities and enable them to be adjusted to account for an unstructured environment.
It will fundamentally change civilization as we know it, according to Musk. He goes on to argue that Optimus may potentially increase economic output by "two orders of magnitude."
At last year's AI Day, Musk initially revealed the "Tesla Bot," promising it would be "kind" and maybe transform the company's production and assembly line operations.
Musk had already urged his followers not to anticipate the prototype to resemble the glossy black-and-white depiction first displayed at the event last year. However, there has been no lack of enthusiasm, with Musk describing the robot as "the most important product development we're doing this year" and asserting that it may eventually become "more substantial than the automobile company."
Future uses might involve cooking, gardening, or even "catgirl" sex partners, according to Elon Musk, who stated that production might begin as early as next year.
Experts in robotics cautioned against placing too much stock in Musk's promises in the days before AI Day. They have pointed out that other businesses are significantly more advanced in creating robots that can run, jump, and walk, but none claim to be near to displacing workers.
Who knows if a production-ready Tesla Bot will ever be released? Tesla's past is replete with fantastical notions that never materialized, such as a solar-powered Supercharger network, battery swapping, or robotic snake-style chargers. But Musk's unwavering determination has driven the business to where it is now. Furthermore, Musk boasts that Tesla, "the world's biggest robotics firm," will undoubtedly be supported by disclosing a prototype version of the robot.