Tesla released a video showing the progress it has made with the humanoid robot, known as Optimus, which continues to be developed behind the scenes.
The clip shows Optimus slowly walking around a Tesla facility and at one stage, it shows how it is training the bot’s AI systems with human demonstrations. This is shown by a Tesla engineer picking up objects from one box and placing them into another. Optimus is able to mimic the task with its human-like hands.
The robots have come a long way since the prototype was revealed at Tesla’s AI day in 2022. Optimus at the time appeared on stage at a Silicon Valley event, where it waved to the audience and raised its knees. Musk said the robot was a work in progress.
Optimus robots share AI components of Tesla cars
Optimus robots share some of their sensor components and AI software with those found in Tesla cars.
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has previously said that the majority of Tesla’s long-term value will come from the robot and expects to sell significantly more robots than it does cars.
Indeed, Musk has even claimed that demand for the robot could be as high as 10 to 20 billion units, more than the number of people on the planet.
Speaking at Tesla’s AI day last year, Musk said that the robot has the potential to be transformative for civilization. He claimed it could lead to “a future of abundance, a future where there is no poverty, where you could have whatever you want in terms of products and services.”
He further added that existing humanoid robots are “missing a brain” as well as the ability to solve problems on their own. In contrast, Optimus would be an “extremely capable robot.”
Even though the tech entrepreneur has called for a pause on AI development, he highlighted that Tesla aimed to ensure the safe transition to a robot-dominated society, one in which robots would do the work but people would earn the benefits.
“We always want to be careful we don’t go down the Terminator path,” he said, adding that Tesla was building in safeguards, including a stop button that could not be tampered with.
Tesla is thought to be targeting a price point of around $20,000 for Optimus but it could look to reduce that price as production ramps up. A launch date has not yet been announced.
Investors and financial analysts have expressed plenty of skepticism about Tesla turning to robotics, advising that Tesla should instead only focus on making electric cars.