Last year during Tesla’s AI Day, the company announced that it was developing a humanoid robot which it calls simply the Tesla Bot. This year, the company has revealed a prototype, referring to it with what as previously its codename, Optimus.
The plus side is that this year, we get to see a proper robot rather than a dude in a leotard suit. Well, two, actually. The first one was pretty autonomous, walking on stage and making gestures to the live audience. But it didn’t have any panelling on the top half of its body, showing the complex inner workings, including the cables and actuators.
Tesla boss Elon Musk claims that this is the first time one of its own robots is operating without a tether. Which is fine and all, but this version of the Optimus moves at a pretty, well, robotic pace, much like the many humanoid robots that have taken to the stage since Honda’s Asimo over two decades ago. There was also a showcase of the Optimus bot picking up and putting down a box, watering plants and moving parts in a factory-like setting.
Following that, Tesla revealed another robot that looks more complete, with the panels of the top half of the body in place. But this bot is not quite ready to move unassisted. While not quite ready to walk, Musk says that this is the one that’s closer to what is going into production.
Powering Optimus when it is untethered will be a 2.3kWh battery, which Telsa claims can power if for a full day of work. As mentioned last year, the bot is equipped with an AI that is based on the Autopilot system found in its cars.
Musk also says that Tesla has designed Optmus with the same “discipline” as with its cars, which is to make them at high volume and reliability and at low cost. And on the subject of cost, the CEO estimates each bot to cost under US$20000 (~RM92740). Milan Kovac, Tesla’s Director of Autopilot Software Engineering, says that “we can get this done within the next few months or years”.
(Source: Tesla / YouTube)