Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla humanoid robot last year, which regrettably resembled any other robot capable of mass damage. If you’re going to develop a robot that can perform simple duties around the house, you’d think you’d at least try to make it less terrifying.
Elon Musk stated he was working on a humanoid robot called the Tesla Bot on August 19, 2021, at the Tesla AI day. According to Musk, the robot will use the same artificial intelligence as Tesla’s autonomous vehicle fleet, and will assist humans by performing dangerous, repetitive, and tedious tasks.
He mentioned the robot again at the Cyber Rodeo event in Texas about a year later, this time under the moniker Optimus Sub-Prime. He stated that the project is a top priority for him and that it would be ready for production in 2023.
On stage, Musk shared: “Anything humans don’t want to do, Optimus will do. It may be hard to imagine it, but as you see Optimus’ develop — we will make sure it is safe, no terminator stuff or that kind of thing — how it’s really going to transform the world to a degree even greater than the cars. I think we have a shot at being in production for version one, hopefully next year.”
Last week, at the grand opening of a new Tesla Gigafactory, Musk added that the humanoid robot “will upend our idea of what the economy is… it will be able to do basically anything humans don’t want to do. It will do it. It’s going to bring an age of abundance. It may be hard to imagine it, but as you see Optimus develop, and we will make sure it’s safe, no Terminator stuff, it will transform the world to a degree even greater than the cars.”
Tesla has yet to reveal a working prototype of the robot, and it is unclear where the development is at this time. The robot on display at the Cyber Rodeo has human proportions measuring 5’8″ (172 cm) and weighing 125 pounds (56 kg). This enables it to function in an environment created by and for people.
Musk elaborated on his ambitions in an interview with Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, saying that the robot will be a general-purpose focused humanoid, and that he hopes we will be able to download our brain features, including our personalities, into it.
Even while Musk’s guarantee sounds appealing, there are plenty of skeptics—and it’s not only because they fear the robots will turn on us. It’s unclear whether the humanoid, codenamed “Optimus,” will be ready for manufacturing by next year. Other Tesla projects, such as the Cybertruck, have taken years to develop, and Musk is notorious for promising one thing and then failing to deliver.
Photo via Tesla