Tesla on Friday unveiled a prototype of a humanoid robot that it says could be a future product for the automaker.
The robot, nicknamed Optimus by Tesla, walked stiffly on stage. tesla AI Day, he slowly waved to the crowd and waved his hands for about a minute. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the robot was operating untethered for the first time. Robotics developers often use tethers to support robots because they aren’t capable enough to walk without falling and getting hurt.
The Optimus’s abilities appear to significantly track what robots from competitors like Hyundai-owned Boston Dynamics are capable of. Robots from Boston Dynamics have been seen making back flips and performing sophisticated dance routines no tether
“The robot can actually do a lot more than what we just showed,” Musk said at the event. “We just didn’t want him to fall flat on his face.”
Tesla also showed videos of its robot performing simple tasks like carrying boxes and watering plants with a watering can.
Musk claimed that if the robot were to be produced in high volume, it would “probably” cost less than $20,000. Tesla maintains that the advantage of Optimus against its competitors will be its ability to navigate independently using technology developed from Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” driver assistance system, as well as the cost savings from what it has learned about manufacturing from its automotive division. . (Tesla’s “Fully Autonomous Driving” requires a human being who is alert and attentive, ready to take control at a moment’s notice, since he is not yet capable of driving himself entirely.)
Tesla has a history of aggressive price targets that it ultimately falls short of. The Tesla Model 3 has long been promised as a $35,000 vehicle, but it could only be purchased for a very short time for that price, and not directly on its website. The most affordable Tesla Model 3 now costs $46,990. When Tesla revealed the cyber truck in 2019, their pick-up truck, which is not yet available for purchase today, was said to cost $39,990, but the price has since been removed from Tesla’s website.
Tesla AI Day it is largely intended as a recruiting event to attract talented people to join the company.
Musk claimed that the robot could be transformative for civilization. The robot shown on Friday, despite its limitations compared to competitors, was significantly ahead of what Tesla revealed a year ago, when a person jumped onstage in a robot suit and danced.
“‘Last year it was just one person in a robot suit,'” Musk said before the robot took the stage. “We have come a long way. Compared to that, it’s going to be very impressive.”
Tesla is not the first automaker to develop a humanoid robot. Along with Hyundai’s Boston Dynamics, Honda worked on robots called “Asimo” for nearly 20 years. In his final form, Asimo was a child-sized humanoid robot capable of walking, running, going up and down stairs unattached, and manipulating objects with his fingers.