Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the carmaker will be branching out into humanoid robots during the company’s recent AI event. At the event, Musk unveiled the “Tesla Bot,” a 1.7 meter, 56-kilogram robot. He said the bot will have a screen where its face should be that will present information. The humanoid robot will also be capable of dead-lifting 68 kilograms and carrying about 20 kilograms, according to the CEO. Though, the bot will only travel about 8 kilometers per hour.
“We’re setting it such that it is at a mechanical level, at a physical level, that you can run away from it and most likely overpower it,” Musk quipped.
The bot will use Tesla’s Autopilot software, according to Musk. It will be equipped with eight cameras that will feed into the neural network that Tesla has developed for its FSD software.
The neural network emulates the functions of the human brain since it allows the vehicle to analyze its surroundings via cameras and determine what it needs to do when it encounters obstacles by identifying and labeling different routes and images.
The Tesla Bot is an example of Musk’s showmanship, in which he announces that Tesla is working on exciting products scheduled for years into the future to energize backers including employees, customers, and investors. Often, those announcements don’t happen on the timeline predicted.
For instance, at an ‘Autonomy Day” event in Apr. 2019, Musk said the company would have 1 million autonomous “robotaxis” on the road in 2020. Those robotaxis are nowhere to be seen. In October 2016, Musk held an event at Universal Studios’ backlot in Los Angeles to show off a product he called the Solar Roof. The solar roof tiles on display turned out to be merely conceptual.
If a humanoid robot works and can perform repetitive tasks that only humans can do today, Musk said, it has the chance to transform the world economy by driving labor costs down.
Moreover, much like its autonomous electric vehicles, Tesla Bot will leverage various advanced cameras and sensors to navigate around and perform tasks. It will have 8 cameras onboard and a screen to display important information. Plus, it will feature Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) system, which is the same autonomous driving technology that Tesla cars use, to enable autonomous functions.
“Tesla is arguably the world’s biggest robotics company because cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels. It kind of makes sense to put that into a humanoid form,” Musk said in an online event.
He also added that the Tesla Bot will feature five-fingered hands, just like humans, will be designed to be “friendly” and built in such a way that “you can run away from it and most likely overpower it.” Now, I am worried about the “most likely” part as the Tesla Bot is essentially a robot and any engineer can also design it to be destructive, right? Well, if that happens, I am sure Elon Musk will be ready with his army of “friendly” Tesla Bots to protect humanity.
As for availability, Musk stated that the prototype of Tesla Bot will be showcased sometime in 2022. However, there is no information on when the company will launch commercial models of the humanoid robot for industrial or personal use as of now.