Tesla’s humanoid robot project, known as Tesla Bot (or Optimus), is gaining credibility with the release of impressive new footage. Initially dismissed as a sideshow, the project now appears to be moving closer to becoming a real product. When Elon Musk first introduced the Tesla Bot, many considered it a distraction from Tesla’s primary goal of advancing sustainable energy.
Musk emphasized the potential value of humanoid robots in addressing the labor crisis, but skepticism remained regarding Tesla’s ability to bring the concept to fruition (similar to the doubts surrounding Tesla’s autonomous driving efforts.)
The early demo at Tesla AI Day last year did little to dispel the doubts — the initial prototype was rudimentary, with limited mobility and basic gestures; another more refined prototype was showcased but couldn’t even walk properly during the presentation.
Despite claiming to have a strong opportunity to develop the humanoid robot using existing hardware and software from their electric vehicles and self-driving technology, Tesla’s dedication to the project remained uncertain.
During Tesla’s 2023 shareholders meeting, Elon Musk provided an update on the Tesla Bot, showcasing multiple prototypes in new footage. The video featured five Tesla Optimus prototypes performing simple tasks, navigating office spaces and Tesla facilities alongside Cybertrucks.
While their movements were slow, the prototypes displayed stability. Although the tasks performed were not particularly impressive, Tesla demonstrated significant progress in developing the robot’s hands. Additionally, the footage showcased the robots’ ability to detect and memorize their environment.
Elon Musk once again underscored the potential of the Optimus project, stating that it was vastly underrated. He claimed the demand for such robots could reach 10 to 20 billion units and confidently predicted that Optimus would become a major contributor to Tesla’s long-term value. Will that really happen? Only time will tell.
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