Last Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company will build a humanoid robot called Tesla Bot. The announcement came during California’s AI Day, Tesla’s series of technology talks aimed to recruit machine learning talent.
Tesla Bot Has No Working Model Yet
Expecting a working prototype, the crowd instead saw an actor in a bodysuit designed to look like the Tesla Bot. The actor danced on stage and mimicked the mechanical movements of robots. Musk clarified that the actor was not a real robot, but that the Tesla Bot will be real.
“We’re also good at sensors and batteries and we’ll probably have a prototype next year that looks like this,” Musk said.
The Tesla Bot is the latest addition to Musk’s habit of introducing new ideas without a working model or a timeline. The announcement aims to stimulate investors and employees and prepare them for a bright future ahead.
However, most of Musk’s announcements are way ahead of their realistic timeline. For example, at a 2019 event, Musk announced they will have a million robotaxis on the road by the next year. That has yet to happen, as Tesla has yet to release self-driving taxis from their lineup.
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‘Probably Won’t Work’
Musk said that the aim of humanoid robots is to replace humans in performing repetitive tasks. If this becomes successful, labor costs can go down and transform the world economy.
However, Musk cautioned that the Tesla Bot “probably won’t work” at first. “It’s intended to be friendly, of course, and navigate through a world of humans, and eliminate dangerous, repetitive and boring tasks,” Musk said.
The Tesla Bot, codenamed ‘Optimus,” uses the same chips and sensors used by Tesla cars for self-driving and navigating roads. The design calls for a five foot eight inches tall humanoid that has a screen at the head to display information.
Initial design data said that the Tesla Bot can carry 45 pounds but lift150 pounds. Its 125-pound weight makes it ideal to run 5 miles per hour, Musk said. Tesla will also install autopilot cameras in the robot’s head.
Tesla said that the design allows humans to run away from or overpower it. “On a physical level, you can run away from it and most likely overpower it. If you can run faster than that you’ll be fine,” he joked.
Won’t Help Tesla Manufacturing As Well
Also, the Tesla Bot won’t be asked to help with Tesla’s manufacturing jobs. The company is already developing computers needed for robotics, so it makes sense to build a robot. Musk says Tesla is “arguably the world’s biggest robotics company” right now. He also described the cars it makes as “semi-sentient robots on wheels.”
However, Musk envisions a less stressful type of work for the Tesla Bot. “It should be able to, you know, please go to the store and get me the following groceries, that kind of thing,” Musk said.
Watch the CNET video featuring Elon Musk announcing the Tesla Bot in 10 minutes:
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What do you think about humanoid robots that can do repetitive and boring tasks? WIll they replace humans in many lines of work? In addition, will they provide better service?
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