Tesla has unveiled its Optimus humanoid robot at its AI Day 2022 today and Elon Musk believes Tesla can bring it to market for “less than $20,000”.
As expected, the event started with Tesla unveiling a working prototype of its humanoid robot – a project first announced at Tesla’s AI day in 2021.
There were two prototypes unveiled at the event.
Tesla started by unveiling Bumble C, which is the first version of the bot and it was developed with “semi off-the-shelf” actuators. It served as a testing bed for Tesla’s first robot developed with in-house parts.
Here’s a picture of Bumble C as it walked on stage at the event:
It didn’t do anything impressive on stage, but it was able to walk around and wave at the crowd.
Tesla did show some videos of the robot performing some tasks in a controlled environment to demonstrate some level of usefulness.
The automaker even showed the robot performing a task at an actual workstation at the Fremont factory.
But after Bumble C, Tesla brought on stage the first generation Optimus robot.
The reason why Tesla didn’t lead with it and showed an earlier and rougher prototype is that it couldn’t actually get the new one to walk yet.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the new robot should be able to walk within the next few weeks, but he wanted to show it today since it looks more like the version of the robot that is going to go into production:
It also couldn’t do much on stage other than wave at the crowd and had to be carried by Tesla employees.
Musk noted that this version was equipped with Tesla-designed actuators, battery pack, and power electronics.
Tesla revealed that it had the first prototype in February of 2022, which led to this new version that is now supposedly about to walk in the next few days.
Tesla did share some specs of Optimus, including a 2.3 kWh battery pack, which the automaker claims should be good for about a day’s worth of work.
As Tesla announced last year, it is also equipped with the same “self-driving computer” inside Tesla vehicles:
After the presentation about the specs and main features of the bot, Tesla moved on to a more in-depth presentation about the robotic and AI approach to developing it.
Again, Tesla’s AI Day is about recruiting and Tesla is basically showing off what it is working on to help attract talent that would be interested in those details.
On a consumer level, Musk highlighted the fact that while people have seen plenty of impressive humanoid robots before, he insists that Tesla’s effort is different because it is focused on developing a robot that is manufacturable in high volume – unlike one-off projects that we have seen in the past.
Furthermore, Musk said that Tesla’s advantage is that its bot is going to be powered by its AI, which has been primarily developed for self-driving technology. He believes Tesla is going to be able to leverage this work to enable the robot to navigate the real world and perform useful tasks.
The CEO reiterated previous comments about how Optimus can bring a “fundamental change in civilization as we know it” by virtually “ending poverty” through improving economic output when used in industry.
He believes that the robot should cost “less than $20,000” to make. He didn’t update the timeline for production, but he previously said Tesla planned to bring it to production as soon as next year.
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