Tesla Will Likely Launch Prototype Humanoid Robot Next Year: Musk

The United States based electric car maker Tesla Inc would possibly launch a “Tesla Bot” humanoid robot prototype sometime next year, said the company’s Chief Executive Elon Musk. The robot will be designed specifically for undertaking dangerous, repetitive, or boring tasks that humans do not like to do.

A range of jobs from attaching bolts to cars with a wrench, or picking up groceries at stores, can be handled by the robot, which will be about five foot eight inches tall, said the billionaire entrepreneur while speaking at Tesla’s AI Day event.

Addressing the issue of labour shortage, Musk said that the robot would have “profound implications for the economy”. It was however important that the machine not “super-expensive”, Musk said.

In recent times, there has been greater scrutiny of the safety and capability of Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” advanced driver assistant system, even while the company organized the AI Day event. No comments however were made about the scrutiny over the safety of Tesla technology by Musk. He however expressed confidence about achieving full self-driving with higher safety than humans using current in-car cameras and computers.

Accidents involving crashing of Tesla cars into stationary police cars and fire trucks prompted opening of an investigation into Tesla’s driver assistant system by US safety regulators earlier this week.

The Federal Trade Commission has been called upon by two US senators to initiate an investigation on claims made by Tesla about its “Full Self-Driving” system.

Its in-house designed chip for its high-speed computer, Dojo, was also unveiled by Tesla at the event. That will help the company to develop its automated driving system. Dojo would be operational next year, Musk said.

New hardware for its self-driving computer used in its Cybertruck electric pick-up truck will also be introduced by Tesla in “about a year or so”, Musk said.

The launch of the much awaited and anticipated Cybertruck was postponed in July by Tesla form this year but did not provide any timeframe for the launch of the vehicle in the market.

There were however questions raised about whether Musk would be able to come good on his aims for the robot because the billionaire is known to frequently tout new and advancement of technologies at showpiece events but later scales down plans involving such technologies.

“Is the ‘Tesla Bot’ the next dream shot to pump up the hype machine?” said Raj Rajkumar, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

“I can safely say that it will be much longer than 10 years before a humanoid bot from any company on the planet can go to the store and get groceries for you.”

(Adapted from Reuters.com)

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