Tesla President Elon Musk unveiled on Friday the prototype of its humanoid robot “Optimus and predicted that the electric vehicle maker will be able to create millions of them and sell them for less than $20,000 – which is less than one third of the cost of the Model Y.
Musk declared that Tesla would be able to accept order for the robotic within the next three or five years and also outlined an effort to build the robot in the next decade or more the most precise vision Musk has offered so far of a business Musk has claimed could be more than Tesla’s EV revenues.
Tesla’s desire to develop and manufacture mass-market robots that could also be tested in working positions in its manufacturing facilities sets it apart from other companies who have tried humanoid robots.
The long-awaited unveiling of Tesla’s prototype robots at its workplace situated in Palo Alto, California was also part of the what Musk has stated as a plan to get Tesla recognized as a leader in areas such as artificial intelligence, and not only a car maker “cool cars.”
An experimental robot Tesla declared was developed in February was seen walking out to greet fans on Friday and Tesla showed a short video of it performing simple taskslike watering plants or carrying boxes, as well as lifting metal bars in an assembly line in Tesla’s California plant.
However, the more refined version of the current one was revealed, one that Musk claimed was more in line with the concept he was hoping to bring into production, needed to be launched on a platform. It then did an oblique wave towards the crowd. Musk named it Optimus and claimed it would be able to walk on the ground in just a couple of weeks.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done to refine Optimus and prove it,” Musk declared and added later that “I think Optimus is going to be incredible in five or 10 years, like mind blowing.”
He claimed that humanoid robots have “missing a brain” – and the ability to tackle issues by themselves. In contrast, he claimed, Optimus would be an “extremely capable robot” that Tesla hopes to build in the thousands.
Other automakers, such as Toyota Motor and Honda Motor are also developing humanoid robot prototypes capable of performing complex things such as shooting basketballs as well as production robots manufactured by ABB and other companies are the mainstays of manufacturing autos.
However, Tesla is the only company that has pushed the market for a robot with mass-market appeal which could be utilized for factory work.
The next-generation Tesla bot will incorporate Tesla-designed components, like the 2.3-kWh battery pack that is carried inside its body, a chip system, as well as actuators to control its legs. The robot is expected to weigh 73 pounds.
Tesla scientists, who along with Musk was all dressed in black T-shirts that had the image of metallic robotic hands that form an elongated heart, discussed how they came up with the robot’s characteristics – including specific areas such as how the hands move with a a particular focus on making production less.
“We are trying to follow the goal of fastest path to a useful robot that can be made at volume,” Musk stated.
In launching a robotics-related firm, Musk said, Tesla is changing the meaning of its mission statement, which has become an integral part the appeal it gives investors and activists through its commitment the company to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
“Optimus is not directly in line with accelerating sustainable energy,” Musk stated. “I think the mission does somewhat broaden with the advent of Optimus to – you know, I don’t know: making the future awesome.”
Musk has stated that the event was designed to attract workers and the engineers who took the stage were catering to an audience of technical experts. They explained the process through which Tesla developed robot hands , and then used crash simulator techniques to assess the robot’s capability to fall over its head without breaking.
Musk who has made comments before about the dangers that artificial intelligence poses, claimed robots’ mass deployment could “transform civilization” and create “a future of abundance, a future of no poverty.” However, he added that his belief was that it’s crucial that Tesla shareholders played a part in the vetting process of the company’s plans.
“If I go crazy, you can fire me,” Musk declared. “This is important.”
A majority of the responses from Twitter have been positive with a focus on the pace of development at Tesla in the last few months, when Tesla unveiled its plan by announcing a show that had an individual wearing the white suit, who was simulated to be the humanoid robot.
Henri Ben Amor, a robotics professor at Arizona State University, said Musk’s $20,000 price goal was an “good proposition,” since the current cost is about $100,000 for humanoid robots.
“There’s some discrepancy between sort of the ambition and what they have presented,” he added. “When it comes to dexterity, speed, the ability to walk in a stable fashion and so on, there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Aaron Johnson, a mechanical engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University, also stated that the need for the robot was debatable.
“What is really impressive is that they got to that level so quickly. What is still a little murky is what exactly the use case is for them to make millions of these,” Johnson stated.
Tesla also spoke about its long-awaited self-driving technology during the event. The engineers working on the auto self-driving program described how they taught the software to make decisions like when to merge with traffic, and how they speeded the decision-making process for computers.
At the beginning of May Musk declared that the world’s top car maker is “worth basically zero” without the ability to fully self-driving and is facing increasing regulators’ inquiries in addition to technological obstacles.
Musk announced on Friday that the beta testing of Tesla’s complete self-driving capabilities is “technically” ready for global rollout by 2022, however regulations pose the biggest hurdle.