Tesla has unveiled its Optimus humanoid robot, which is estimated to cost less than $20,000 through mass production. The new robot, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk said may enter the market in the next few months, was revealed during Tesla’s AI Day. At the event, Tesla first unveiled its Bumble C human-robot and later its Optimus prototype humanoid.
The robot walked on stage and even waved stiffly at the crowd before beginning to gesticulate with its hands for some minutes. Although Tesla showed a video where the humanoid robot performed some significant tasks in a controlled environment such as a workstation at the company’s Fremont factory, tech analysts said there was nothing special about Bumble C or Optimus.
Musk said the robot operated without a tether for the first time. Robot manufacturers usually demonstrate a human machine with tethers, since the machines are usually not able to stand or walk superbly without falling over and damaging components. He said this robot was showcased because it would likely be the prototype to be manufactured for the market in the years to come.
“The robot can actually do a lot more than we just showed you,” Musk said at the event. “We just didn’t want it to fall on its face.”
Musk said Optimus was made with Tesla proprietary power electronics, battery packs, and actuators. He said the machine has a 2.3 kWh battery pack that can power it for a full day’s operation at a factory. He added that the robot runs on Tesla’s own self-driving computer which powers its “Full Self-Driving” cars – and that the robot will navigate work areas independently when fully launched.
According to him, the Tesla technologies powering the robot are the major advantage it has over those manufactured by competitors.
As tech analysts at the event observed, Tesla’s AI Day is actually a program to attract tech talents and employees than to showcase the latest innovations. It is designed as a recruiting event to bring tech-minded talents aboard the Tesla ship.
Several automotive companies had attempted to succeed at manufacturing humanoid robots before Tesla did. Hyundai’s Boston Dynamics created robots that can do backflips and execute complex dances without tethers. Honda also created “Asimo” which is able to walk, run, climb, and use stairs among other things without falling on its face.
Musk did not provide a timeline for launching Optimus into the market, but he made it clear that it will not cost above $20,000 at mass production. Apart from the reputable Tesla brand, people have not seen anything special with what the company’s robot has demonstrated.