Chief Executive Officer of Tesla, Elon Musk has revealed a humanoid ‘Optimus’ robot prototype.
According to The Verge, humanoid shares AI software and sensor with its cars’ Autopilot driver assistance features.
At the start of Tesla’s 2022 AI Day presentation, Musk acknowledged that they had “a guy in a suit” last year but promised something much more impressive today.
According to Musk, this prototype can do more than what was shown live, but “the first time it operated without a tether was tonight on stage.”
Musk predicted it could hit a price of “probably less than $20,000” and later, in a Q&A session, explained that Tesla is very good at building the AI and the actuators necessary for robotics based on the experience of producing drive units for electric cars.
The Electric car company boss said that would help it get capable robots into production and start off by testing them within its factories.
He claimed that the difference between Tesla’s design and other “very impressive humanoid robot demonstrations” is that Tesla’s Optimus is made for mass production in the “millions” of units and to be very capable. As he said that, a team of workers moved a non-walking prototype offstage behind him.
Initially, the back doors of the stage opened to reveal a deconstructed Optimus that Tesla calls “Bumble C” that walked forward and did a “raise the roof” dance move.
Musk admitted that they wanted to keep it safe, not make too many moves on stage, and have it “fall flat on its face.” (Best to avoid another Cybertruck sledgehammer incident if you can.)
Afterwards, the company showed a few video clips of the robot doing other tasks like picking up boxes.
Then Tesla’s team brought out another prototype showing a “very close to production” version of Optimus with its body fully assembled but not fully functional — it was held up on a stand and waved to the audience, showing the range of motion of its wrist and hand.
Musk claimed this unit (that was walked out and eventually rolled off by a team of workers) still contains actuators, battery pack, and everything else but “wasn’t quite ready to walk.”
They revealed that the initial robot presented was developed in just the past six months. Discussing hurdles they have to address in getting it from the prototype to a working design, they hope to “get this done within the next few months… or years.”