Forward-looking: Move over Boston Dynamics, there’s a new robot maker in town. Tesla announced the Tesla Bot during its AI Day conference today. Tesla Bot is a general purpose, bi-pedal, humanoid robot "capable of performing tasks that are unsafe, repetitive or boring for humans to carry out." That may not sound all that interesting (and we've heard that promise before), but Elon Musk believes his robot could radically change our daily lives.
The Tesla Bot is codenamed Optimus. It stands 5’8” tall and tips the scales at 125 pounds. Musk said the bot has a top speed of around five miles an hour, meaning most humans should be able to easily outrun it. Tesla Bot won’t feature Hulk-like strength, either, so in the event things go terribly wrong, you should be able to overpower it as well.
Musk envisions a future where the Tesla Bot, built with the same sort of AI capabilities as its vehicles, can perform duties that humans might not want to be bothered with, like shopping for groceries. It should also be able to navigate through the world without explicit, line-by-line instructions.
“Can you talk to it and say, ‘please pick up that bolt and attach it to the car with that wrench?’ It should be able to do that,” Musk said.
The entrepreneur believes the Tesla Bot could revolutionize society. “What happens when there is no shortage of labor,” he asked, before briefly touching on the concept of universal basic income. "But not right now, because this robot doesn't work."
Musk said he expects to have a prototype ready by sometime next year. Those interested in helping Tesla build the bot – that is, electrical, mechanical and software engineers – are encouraged to reach out for employment opportunities.