What is Tesla ‘Optimus’ Robot
What is Tesla ‘Optimus’ Robot

A humanoid robot in every household, ready to fulfill our every want and whim. Chores like tidying up, making dinner, and mowing the lawn could be outsourced to AI robot butlers that have total knowledge of every family member, room, and object in the home.

When Tesla announced the “Tesla Bot” project at its AI Day last year, Elon Musk presented it as something the company could do by leveraging existing work and parts from the development of self-driving technology, and if they don’t do it, someone else will.

Musk announced that Tesla is now prioritizing product development of Tesla Bot, which he now calls Optimus, in 2022 over some of its upcoming vehicles.

The CEO appeared a lot more excited about the project and its potential to impact labor shortage and eventually the broader economy.

When first announcing the project, Tesla was aiming to have a prototype of the humanoid robot ready by the end of 2022, but there was no talk of a production timeline just yet.

Read more to know deeply about Tesla 'Optimus' Robot:

What is Tesla ‘Optimus’ Robot: Feature and Appearance?

Optimus, a human-like droid powered by AI, is Elon Musk’s latest project—one he insists will be worth more than Tesla’s current vehicle business.

Musk originally unveiled the concept for Optimus (the nickname for what’s otherwise called Tesla Bot) at the company’s AI Day last August. But in a Q1 2022 earnings call conducted last week, Musk mentioned he was “surprised that people did not realize the magnitude of the Optimus robot program,” saying he’d never felt more optimistic regarding Tesla’s future than he was during the call.

At five feet, eight inches tall and 125 pounds, Optimus will be able to see “eye to eye” with many adult humans. Except Optimus (thankfully) won’t have a human face; instead its head will display a screen, though the screen could end up displaying a two-dimensional face if Tesla so chooses. Optimus’ major joints (like its knees, elbows, and fingers), are made up of 40 electromechanical actuators, and it will also sit at about the same height as your average adult. This will allow the robot to carry out tasks in pre-existing environments.

Optimus may be physically strong, but speed will not be one of its selling points. The robot will be able to deadlift 150 pounds and carry 45 pounds, but it will only be able to move at five miles per hour. If you’re worried about a potential humanoid robot takeover, rest assured: Musk says “you can run away from [Optimus], and most likely overpower it”—the “most likely” part of which we’re not concerned about at all.

Where Tesla Optimus Originated

According to Elon, a Tesla car navigating itself autonomously is already a “semi-sentient robot on wheels,” and it makes sense for Tesla to go for it and put all of its expertise & AI in humanoid form. Explaining it further, Elon thinks the Tesla bot directly answers a labor shortage issue. (Note: CleanTechnica‘s Chanan Bos wrote about this idea — because it just seemed like the logical next step — and again leading into the Tesla AI Day event in August 2021.)

“I think Tesla Optimus has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time. If you think about the economy, the foundation of the economy is labor. Capital equipment is distilled labor. So, what happens if you don’t actually have a labor shortage? I’m not sure what an economy even means at that point. That’s what Optimus is about. So, very important.”

Apart from attracting & hiring the best of AI talent for itself — as FSD is still not fully solved problem and is quintessential piece establishing efficacy of Tesla Vision for both Tesla autonomous driving and Optimus, which Elon does think they are close to solving — the potential for population collapse may also be another reason the Optimus project got priority status. More on this later.

A fully functioning AI robot opens up limitless labor supply — constrained only by cost & resources to make it — creating an exponential boost for any economy. There’s no wonder why any AI company would want to create one. But it is a highly complex endeavor and hardly any AI has solved the autonomous navigation problem: Boston Dynamics robots are some of the most highly sophisticated robots out there & they too need an operator with controller and have limited autonomous capabilities.

What will the Tesla Bot do?

Photo: game-news24
Photo: game-news24

Tesla Bot could develop a unique personality and become a companion. Elon Musk says that he is considering Tesla Bot becoming more than just a humanoid robot to perform useful tasks but to have it potentially develop a unique personality and be a companion.

According to the Tesla AI website, the Tesla Bot is capable of performing unsafe, repetitive, or boring tasks for human beings.

Musk said the robot will be able to do tasks like grocery runs, picking up household objects, and other everyday commands.

You can talk to the bot and say stuff like: "Go to the grocery store and pick up the following things," and the bot will be able to do it. Allegedly, the bot will have a carrying capacity of 45 lbs and a deadlift capacity of 150 lbs.

If this robot ever becomes a reality, we can expect to see several applications of the technology in the home. The robot can be used as an assistant at home, helping us with cleaning, cooking, and other errands and chores.

Is the Tesla Bot real?

The short answer is yes! The Tesla Bot, also known as Optimus, is real. In Musk's own words, "Tesla Bot will be real".

In 2021, at Tesla's AI event, Musk announced that he is developing a humanoid robot. As of now, the Tesla Bot aka Optimus is just a concept. However, a working prototype is being developed by Elon Musk’s team at Tesla.

The robot will be 5’8” tall, weigh about 125 lbs, and be able to move at a maximum speed of around 5 miles an hour. The robot is intended to be friendly and navigate through the world using its own artificial intelligence.

Tesla's Optimus has been in development since August 2021, and the prototype will be unveiled sometime this year (2022). However, it seems like it will take a lot longer than expected to develop the technology.

How much will a Tesla Bot cost?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the company’s robot, named Optimus, will be “worth more than the car business, worth more than FSD.”

What will you need to spend to own your own Tesla robot? Musk has not released a price, so there is rampant speculation online about the possible price tag for the Tesla Bot.

SoftBank Robotics offered its home companion Pepper humanoid robot for around $1,800 before halting production earlier this year. But with Tesla’s advanced technology, many are predicting that their robot could cost $10,000 (or far more).

There may also be a one-time upfront fee to buy the robot, and then a hefty monthly subscription fee.

When Tesla 'Optimus' Robot Coming Out?

Tesla Inc. may have a functioning humanoid robot up and running within months, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Twitter, as he postponed the electric carmaker’s second AI Day until Sept. 30 for that reason.

The Optimus humanoid robot is still in the concept stage, which means it is still a long way away from entering mass production. Musk, however, said that Tesla will reveal the first prototypes of its new bot in 2022, although there's no exact ETA just yet. There's also no word on the pricing for now, but for companies wanting to put these machines into action, they are unlikely to come cheap. In the meantime, there will likely be more news about Tesla's Optimus humanoid robots in the weeks and months to come.

Who Will Buy Optimus Robot?

Photo: mindlifetv
Photo: mindlifetv

Factories, godowns, SpaceX (a Starman version), nuclear sites, minefield removal teams, Boring tunnels, construction sites, hospitals, farms, fire departments (a Boston Dynamics Spot is already in the NYC fire department), ocean exploration teams — wherever it can be, it will be, from doing active work to passive security, data collection, surveillance, etc.

Apart from multiple versions, there are infinite possibilities with different fields & specific tasks in those fields that will probably make Tesla come up with its own additional accessories. It’s hard to comprehend how quickly Optimus will become a real-life action figure with limitless accessories. And I’m guessing a Signature Edition will come with Not-a-flamethrower? Okay, probably not.

The idea of Optimus as a product is head scratching for many indeed, but Elon has gone past the point of a traditional product and company approach. One simply cannot assume Elon would spend his time on a product that is meant only for incremental benefit to humanity. Elon does consider the Tesla gigafactory as a product itself, a machine that makes a machine. Optimus belongs in the same category, a product that makes a product. In this case: One product to rule them all.

Where is the Tesla Bot located?

Tesla Inc. is looking for an engineer in the Austin area to work on its latest futuristic concept: a humanoid robot.

That led to speculation about what role Austin might play in the development of the Tesla Bot, given the electric vehicle maker's $1.1 billion gigafactory rising east of Austin and the gravitational pull Central Texas has had on Musk's other ventures. More details have come to light through a recent job opening on the Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) website, which outlines the company's need for a full-time test engineer to work on the robot as part of a mobile robotics team. The sole job opening could be the first of more to come.

Tesla is also seeking mechanical engineers and robotics architects in Palo Alto, California, where the company is headquartered.

The Austin job posting outlines that the test systems will be a "particularly challenging and dynamic area" of development.

The company was also searching for a robotics engineer in Austin with experience in manufacturing by publication time, though there was no mention of the Tesla Bot in the job description.

The Austin area already has some expertise in humanoid robot development.

Austin-based Apptronik Inc., a spinout from the Human Centered Robotics Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, was founded in 2016 with the goal of bringing forth the next generation of robots. The company is working on a host of robots that are designed to work alongside humans, according to its website.

Overall, Tesla had nearly 270 jobs posted on its website by the afternoon of Aug. 31. Musk has said the company will need 10,000 people at the gigafactory by the end of 2022, and car production is expected to begin this year.

How does Tesla Bot Impact On Our Future?

An Optimus that can take voice commands and be able to do basic tasks in a Tesla factory is what Elon wants to get started with; a robot that can navigate on its own, assemble or move parts, and basically do any physical repetitive task. It’s certain that the biggest benefit of Optimus as a product will be reaped by Elon’s companies before anyone else can get their hands on it. Especially, Optimus can be a great boon for SpaceX and may even become a key player on Elon’s Mars City ambition. An Optimus doesn’t eat or sleep, doesn’t need any extra radiation protection nor any life support system, and now all of a sudden, all the risk, capital, & technology involved for Mars launches are stripped to the bare minimum. What if all or part of the things that were needed to be done by humans could be done with Optimus? Starship cargo versions with Optimus squad can be the very first Mars launch & landing of Starship. And maybe even on the Moon. The cost & benefit of each Optimus launch will be astronomically low compared with any human spaceflight. Starship solves Earth-to-space cost per cargo problem & Optimus might be the solution for cost of setting up self-sustaining cities with that cargo. Even at present, a Starship that doesn’t have an unloading mechanism may possibly look at Optimus as a whole or partial (system designed with Optimus at its core) solution.

Optimus will do the same basic task there on the Moon or Mars as is meant for the factory floor right now; be autonomous, load/unload cargo, set up and assemble/disassemble different parts. Imagine Starship landing on the Moon or Mars with a squad of Optimus. They unload cargo, set up solar panels, recharge & explore autonomously, maybe even do science experiments. For months, they will clean solar panels, maintain, & use scientific equipments, roam far out & stream HD content back to us. We may even explore caves and lava tubes for the very first time through the eyes of Optimus. Months later, another cargo Starship will arrive with new cargo, the squad will unload base building prefabricated parts, get updated with new construction programs, and start working on building structures with new squad. Now, it’s not possible to just expect a fully environment controlled base ready to welcome us when we will eventually reach there, but it’s fair to say that whatever can be done with Optimus will be done by Optimus, leaving us to do less risky and complex stuff. Does all of this diminish the role of human spaceflight or excitement? No. Buzz that will generate from the first video of humanoid Optimus figures waving at us from the Moon or Mars will only excite us all to look forward to getting there and becoming a multiplanetary species as fast as possible. Optimus will turbocharge the mission of becoming a multiplanetary species.

Even basic load/unload, assemble/disassemble capable Optimuses (Optimi?) with their potential impact on earth and especially in space fully justify the investment & priority in developing them.

Musk believes Optimus is Tesla’s ‘most important product’

Musk earlier this year ranked Optimus as a higher priority than other hotly anticipated Tesla products, including the Cybertruck pickup and the Tesla Semi.

It remains to be seen if Tesla will be able to deliver on Musk’s promises, however. Gary Marcus, an AI researcher, told CNBC this month he was skeptical that Optimus could live up to the hype by 2023.

“Tesla has not even (after years of effort) come close to reliably solving one relatively simple task (driving); to claim that a robot that has never been shown publicly will solve all of human tasks in the next year or two is preposterous,” he said.

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