Tesla today unveiled its humanoid robot Optimus on its AI Day 2022 and Elon Musk thinks Tesla can bring it to market for “under $20,000”.
As expected, the event began with Tesla unveiling a working prototype of its humanoid robot – a project first announced at Tesla’s AI Day in 2021.
Two prototypes were unveiled at the event.
Tesla started by unveiling Bumble C, which is the first version of the bot and it was developed with “semi off-the-shelf” actuators. It served as a testbed for Tesla’s first robot developed with internal parts.
Here’s a photo of Bumble C as he took the stage at the event:
He didn’t do anything impressive on stage, but he was able to walk around and wave to the crowd.
Tesla showed videos of the robot performing certain tasks in a controlled environment to demonstrate some level of usefulness.
The automaker even showed the robot performing a task at an actual workstation at the Fremont plant.
But after Bumble C, Tesla staged the first-generation Optimus robot.
The reason Tesla didn’t lead with it and show off an older, rougher prototype is that it couldn’t make the new one work yet.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the new robot should be able to walk within the next few weeks, but he wanted to show it off today because it looks more like the version of the robot that will go into production:
He also couldn’t do much on stage other than wave to the crowd and had to be carried by Tesla employees.
Musk noted that this version was equipped with Tesla-designed actuators, battery and power electronics.
Tesla revealed it had the first prototype in February 2022, leading to this new version that’s supposed to be on the way in the next few days.
Tesla shared some Optimus specs, including a 2.3 kWh battery, which the automaker says should be good for about a day’s work.
As Tesla announced last year, it also features the same “autonomous driving computer” inside Tesla vehicles:
After presenting the specifications and key features of the bot, Tesla moved on to a more in-depth presentation on the robotics and AI approach to developing it.
Again, Tesla AI Day is about recruiting and Tesla is basically showing off what it’s working on to help attract talent who would be interested in those details.
On a consumer level, Musk pointed to the fact that while people have seen many impressive humanoid robots before, he insists that Tesla’s effort is different because it is focused on developing a robot that can be manufactured in large quantities – unlike the one-off projects we have seen in the past.
Additionally, Musk said Tesla’s advantage is that its bot will be powered by its AI, which was primarily developed for self-driving technology. He thinks Tesla will be able to leverage this work to allow the robot to navigate the real world and perform useful tasks.
The CEO reiterated previous comments about how Optimus can bring about a “fundamental change in civilization as we know it” by “virtually eliminating poverty” through improved economic output when used in the ‘industry.
He estimates the robot should cost “less than $20,000” to manufacture. He did not update the production schedule, but he had previously said that Tesla plans to put into production as soon as next year.
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