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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Tesla to unveil working humanoid robot prototype on Friday

Tesla and Elon Musk are set to unveil an early prototype of Tesla Bot at the company’s AI Day on September 30. The Tesla Bot — also referred to as Optimus — will be a humanoid robot designed to complete repetitive or dangerous tasks.

The first major customer of the helper robos will be Tesla itself, as the company is said to plan on implementing them to complete work in its factories.

AI Day 2022 on Sept 30 🤖 pic.twitter.com/S9LZ5SefUC

— Tesla (@Tesla) August 23, 2022

Optimus was first unveiled at last year’s AI Day, where a rendering and some specs about the Tesla Bot were revealed by Musk himself. These humanoid robots will obviously be made to work in Tesla’s factories and are meant to interact with both humans and machines, specifically for “dangerous, menial, or boring tasks,” according to Musk. In the presentation, he even talked about the personality of these robots, claiming that they’re meant to be friendly, and even easily overpowered by a human.

Earlier this summer, Musk hinted that we’d be getting the first look at a working prototype of Optimus.

The prospects of a robotic workforce seem appealing at first, especially in the midst of a labor shortage. However, experts are skeptical of how effective the robots will be, and they doubt the company’s capability to accomplish significant leaps in robotics that will make the Optimus a viable alternative to a human workforce.

In an interview with Reuters, Nancy Cooke, a professor in human systems engineering at Arizona State University, shared her skepticism quite bluntly.

“If he just gets the robot to walk around,” she said, “or he gets the robot to dance, that’s already been done. That’s not that impressive.”

And skepticism is well-warranted, especially where Elon Musk is concerned. While Tesla kickstarted the EV market, Musk has a tendency to overpromise and underdeliver (if he delivers at all). His Hyperloop project — currently under development at the Boring Company — is way behind schedule, and some obserevrs think the delays are intentional.

Musk even thinks that Optimus will be more significant than the car market in the long term. We will have to wait until the announcement to see if the Tesla Bot has real legs or if it will be another Cybertruck scenario. And of course, Tesla will likely have much more to talk about on AI Day beyond just Optimus, as it addresses its advances in self-driving cars and other topics related to AI and robotics.

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