Tesla’s most important product development is Musk’s new humanoid robot, Optimus.

Tesla’s most important product development is Musk’s new humanoid robot, Optimus.

At Tesla’s 2022 AI Day on Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled a prototype humanoid “Optimus” robot.

The Optimus shared some AI software and sensors with Tesla’s cars’ Autopilot driver assistance features, and would cost “probably less than $20,000” Musk said.

Musk had first claimed at the beginning of the presentation that while last year had “a guy in a suit”, this year was something much more impressive.

Friday’s was initially a deconstructed Optimus bot that Tesla calls “Bumble C ” that came out the back of the stage, did a short work forward and a “Raise the roof” dance.

Musk admitted they didn’t want the robot making too many moves on stage to prevent a case of it falling “flat on its face”.

What followed was a video clip of Optimus doing other tasks such as picking up boxes.

Next, a much more developed version of Optimus was brought on stage, and did a wave to the audience as it was held up on a stand.

Tesla claimed this version was “very close to production” and contained actuators, battery pack, and much of everything else, but wasn’t ready to walk. It required a team of workers to roll it off the stage.

Tesla’s first robot had been developed in just the last six months, and they were hoping to “get (it) done within the next few months… or years”.

The Optimus packs a 2.3kWh battery pack, runs on a Tesla SoC, and carries Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity.

The robot’s human-like hands are the result of “Biologically Inspired Design” that the EV maker’s engineers claimed will make them more suitable for picking up objects of various shapes and sizes, holding a 20-point bag, and having a “precision grip” on small parts.

Tesla’s Autopilot software was moved from its cars and reworked Into the body and environment of the Optimus bot.

Tesla motion captured clips of people carrying out real-world tasks like lifting a box, and using inverse kinematics, it repeated the motion with the Optimus. But to make tasks not look so rigid, it applied “online motion adaptation”.

Musk claimed his prototype robot could do more than what was shown live, but warned fans expect the Optimus to look like the glossy black-and-white rendering shown at last year’s event.

Tesla’s Optimus at its AI Day 2022

By leveraging its experience producing drive units for its electric cars, Tesla could easily build the necessary AI and actuators for the robot. And according to Musk, it will be able to produce capable robots, and have them tested first at its factories.

Other than just picking boxes, the robot could be applied to cooking, gardening, or even “catgirl” sex partners; and production could start as soon as next year Musk claimed.

Experts though are skeptical of Musk’s claims. Musk’s genius and sheer will, and the EV maker’s skill and experience has seen it make great strides in automation and AI , but the company’s history is packed with lots of otherworldly ideas it never got around to making real.

But Musk has claimed Tesla is “the world’s biggest robotics company”, so the Tesla Bot could actually get made.

Experts though argue that many other companies are further along than Tesla in developing robots that can walk, run, and jump, but none of these robots are close to fully replacing human labor.

Musk called his robot “a fundamental transformation for civilization as we know it,” and “the most important product development we’re doing this year” with potential to be “more significant than the vehicle business over time.”

Musk though has never been shy of hype, and there’s no shortage of that around the “Tesla Bot”, which the company had first announced at last year’s AI Day.

So fingers crossed if we ever get to have an Optimus in our homes or offices someday.

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