Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, claimed that humans are superior at some tasks and that the company’s reliance on factory robots four years ago caused it to enter “production hell.”
According to job postings, Musk’s Texas-based company is reportedly considering ambitious plans to use thousands of humanoid robots, also known as Tesla Bot or Optimus, within its factories before eventually expanding to millions globally. An individual with knowledge of the situation said that as Tesla holds more internal meetings on robots, buzz is growing within the organization.
In the long run, according to Musk, robots could be used in homes to perform tasks like cooking, mowing the lawn, taking care of the elderly, and even serving as a “buddy” or “catgirl” sex partner.
According to Musk, who is now promoting a vision for the company that goes far beyond producing self-driving electric cars, the robot business may eventually be worth more than Tesla’s car revenue.
A prototype from Tesla’s Project Optimus, which is a reference to the strong and kind-hearted leader of the Autobots in the Transformers series, will be unveiled at its “AI Day” on September 30, according to Elon Musk. According to him, production might begin in 2019.
According to robotics experts, investors, and analysts surveyed by Reuters, there is skepticism about Tesla’s ability to demonstrate technological advancements that would justify the cost of “general purpose” robots in factories, homes, and other locations.
For the manufacture of its cars, Tesla already uses hundreds of robots that are tailored for particular tasks.
The Boston Dynamics divisions of Honda Motor Co and Hyundai Motor Co have been working on humanoid robots for many years. Similar to self-driving cars, the robots struggle with unforeseen circumstances.
“Self-driving cars weren’t really proved to be as easy as anyone thought. And it’s the same way with humanoid robots to some extent,” the lead of NASA’s Dexterous Robotics Team, Shaun Azimi, told Reuters.
“If something unexpected happens, being flexible and robust to those kinds of changes is very difficult.”
Musk pledged to deliver 1 million robotaxis by 2020 at a “Autonomy” event in 2019, but has yet to do so.
Although experts say it would be difficult for Musk’s robots to live up to public expectations of machines that are equally capable as humans, they may be able to demonstrate some basic capabilities at the event.
According to Nancy Cooke, a professor of human systems engineering at Arizona State University, for Tesla to be successful, it will have to display robots performing a variety of spontaneous actions. Such evidence might help Tesla stock, which is currently down 25% from its 2021 peak.
“If he just gets the robot to walk around, or he gets the robots to dance, that’s already been done. That’s not that impressive,” she said.
According to Musk, Optimus will initially carry out tedious or hazardous tasks, such as relocating parts within factories.
Musk admitted that humanoid robots lack the intelligence necessary to independently navigate the real world.
But he asserted that Tesla can use its knowledge of AI and important parts to create and mass-produce intelligent, yet less expensive, humanoid robots.
With about 20 job postings on “Tesla Bot,” including positions for designing important robot components like “actuators,” Tesla is actively seeking individuals to work on humanoid bipedal robots.
“The code you will write will at term run in millions of humanoid robots across the world, and will therefore be held to high quality standards,” one of the job postings said.
More than 2 million Tesla vehicles are on the road.
The humanoid robot company Agility Robotics, founded in 2015, quoted Jonathan Hurst as saying that technology “is right now starting to turn the corner.”
“Certainly, an important measure of success is do they make money from it,” he told Reuters, referring to Tesla’s humanoid robot efforts.
(Adapted from AutoNews.com)