(ORDO NEWS) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled a prototype of the humanoid robot “Optimus”, which is equipped with AI and sensors with driver-assistance features to autopilot its cars.
At the start of the Tesla 2022 AI Day presentation, Musk admitted they had a “guy in a suit” last year, but today promised something much more impressive.
This prototype may do more than what was shown live, Musk said, but “on stage tonight, it worked without a tether for the first time.”
Musk predicted that it could be priced “probably under $20,000” and later explained during a Q&A session that Tesla is very good at building the AI and actuators needed for robotics based on its experience in producing actuators for electric vehicles..
Musk said this would help him get capable robots into production and start by testing them in his factories.
He argued that the difference between Tesla’s design and other “very impressive demonstrations of humanoid robots” is that Tesla’s Optimus is built to be mass-produced by “millions” of units and has more capabilities.
The Tesla robot prototype is shown tentatively on stage, with many exposed wires and cables.
After that, the company showed several videos in which the robot performs other tasks, such as collecting boxes.
The Tesla team then unveiled another prototype showing a “very close to production” version of the Optimus with a fully assembled but not fully functional body.
Previously, it was held on a stand, demonstrating the range of motion of the wrist and hand. Musk claimed that this device still contains the drives, battery and everything, but is “not quite ready to go.”
Engineers revealed that the original robot presented was developed in just six months. Discussing the hurdles they have to overcome to get from prototype to working design, they hope to “do it within the next few months…or years”.
The robot is powered by a 2.3 kWh battery, powered by a Tesla SoC, and has Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity.
Demos focusing on robotic joints such as hands, wrists, or knees showed how they processed data for each joint and then looked for common areas in each design.
The human-like hands are a “biology-inspired design” that the engineers say will make them more suitable for picking up objects of various shapes and sizes.
Tesla’s Autopilot software has been ported from cars to robot and retooled to work in the new chassis and environment. Tesla motion captures people doing real-life tasks like lifting a box.
Tesla’s history is littered with bizarre ideas that never came to fruition, like a network of solar-powered superchargers, battery swaps, or robot snake-themed chargers. So it remains to be seen whether a production-ready Tesla robot will ever see the light of day.
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