Tesla’s robot walked slowly across the stage at AI Day
(CNN Business) — Tesla on Friday unveiled a prototype humanoid robot that it said could become a future product of the automaker.
The robot, nicknamed “Tesla’s Optimus,” walked stiffly onstage at the Tesla AI (Artificial Intelligence) Day, slowly waved to the crowd and waved his hands for about a minute. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the robot was operating without tethers for the first time. Robotics developers often use tethers to support robots because they are not capable enough to walk without falling and getting hurt.
Optimus’s abilities resemble those of robots from competitors such as Hyundai-owned Boston Dynamics. Boston Dynamics robots have demonstrated back flips and sophisticated dance routines no strings attached.
“The robot can actually do a lot more than what we just showed,” Musk said during the event. “We just didn’t want it to go flat out.”
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 large volumes, it would “probably” cost less than $20,000. Tesla claims that the Optimus advantage over its competitors will be its ability to drive independently using technology developed from Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” driver assistance system, as well as cost savings from what it has learned about Tesla. manufacturing of its automotive division. (Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” system 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 completely.)
Tesla has an aggressive pricing history. The Tesla Model 3 was long promised as a $35,000 vehicle, but it was only available for a very short time at that price, and not directly on the website. The most affordable Tesla Model 3 now costs $46,990. When Tesla introduced the Cybertruck in 2019, the pick-up truck that is not yet available for purchase was said to cost $39,990, but the price has since been removed from Tesla’s website.
Tesla AI Day was largely intended as a recruiting event to attract talent to the company.
Musk claimed that the robot could be transformative for civilization. The one unveiled on Friday, despite its limitations compared to competitors, was significantly ahead of what Tesla had revealed a year earlier, when a person jumped onstage in a robot suit and danced.
“‘Last year it was just a person in a robot suit,'” Musk said before the robot took the stage. “We have come a long way. Compared to that time, this is going to be very impressive.”
Tesla is not the first automaker to develop a humanoid robot. Along with Hyundai’s Boston Dynamics, Honda also 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.