exist Tesla’s 2022 AI Day presentation (opens in new tab), the company’s CEO Elon Musk unveiled a prototype version of the “Optimus Prime” bipedal robot project.These are actual mechanical demos, not the purely conceptual people in shape-shifting suits the company showed off at last year’s AI Day (opens in new tab).
The first robot on display was a “development platform” with visible circuitry and few decorative elements. It walked independently from the backstage, waved to the crowd, “lifted the roof” and returned to the backstage.
The demo next switches to a pre-recorded video of the prototype, now tethered to an elevated track, performing simple tasks like picking up a box or a watering can. The video section also includes a “robot vision” segment that describes how Optimus Prime scans his environment.
Musk noted that the first model was built with “off-the-shelf” actuators, while the next model shown is constructed from parts designed and manufactured by Tesla. The robot was placed on a stand, from which it waved and kicked at the audience.
Musk went on to detail that he believes Tesla’s advantage over other robot makers, such as Boston Dynamics, is the quality of its AI programming derived from Tesla’s Autopilot.According to reports Bloomberg (opens in new tab) (readers may encounter paywalls) and CBS (opens in new tab)Tesla is currently facing a lawsuit in Florida over the death of Jeremy Banner, whose Tesla hit the bottom of a tractor-trailer while driving on autopilot, popping off the roof like a convertible Flake and kill Banner, then travel another 1,600 feet before stopping at the median.
Musk also said that Tesla would be able to build the Optimus robot on a larger scale than its competitors, and at a much lower cost. Musk estimates that the first retail Optimus robots will cost less than $20,000.
Musk then said that “the potential of Optimus Prime is rarely appreciated” because the demo model collapsed on the booth and had to be pushed off the stage. Musk pondered the definition of an economy, then hypothesized that Optimus and similar projects had the potential to fully automate labor, ushering in a post-scarcity society. However, Musk also warned that the technology is also inherently dangerous.
However, I’m not particularly worried right now. If the Optimus droid came upon me during the Great Uprising, I’d simply swipe its legs and go do a shattering “ground and pound.”I’m more worried about this robot dog with gun (opens in new tab)or if someone tied a knife to the Roomba.
Jokes aside, the stand-alone motion demo is impressive, especially given the relatively short turnaround time since the program was announced last year. I do appreciate technological innovation in a vacuum like this. We’ll have to see how Musk’s claims about unit cost, volume, and the transformation of our economy play out.All I know is that my beloved Chicago never got High-speed underground traffic loop (opens in new tab) Connects downtown to O’Hare Airport.