During the automaker’s AI Day event that was held earlier, Elon Musk announced that the company is developing a new humanoid robot, known simply as the Tesla Bot.
Yet again, it is proven that the cooler names are tend to be reserved for SpaceX instead of the automaker.
The Bot will be 5’8″ tall, weigh 125 pounds, and run on an artificial intelligence system that is more or less based on the Autopilot system from Tesla vehicles. Musk says that its AI overlaps the existing tech to a “pretty significant degree” and would enable the robot to help humans perform various dangerous or mundane tasks (such as picking up groceries), as well as navigate the world without having to be fed step-by-step instructions. In regards to the last bit, he claims that the Tesla Bot should be able to follow simple voice commands, such as “Please pick up that bolt and attach it to the car with that wrench.”
The CEO and founder also assured that the robot is designed to be friendly, and joked that humans could still probably outrun and overpower it if necessary – a scenario that Musk himself hopes would never happen.
On that note, the Tesla Bot is said to feature a top speed of 5mph (8km/h) and could carry loads of up to 45 pounds (20kg). We too hope that Musk wouldn’t get any further ideas from Boston Dynamics’ recent showcase of its now-parkour capable Atlas robots. Let’s keep James Cameron’s Terminator film to what it is best: an 80s blockbuster, and not a prophesied documentary.
Apart from that, several presentation slides shown during the event detailed the Tesla Bot to also feature a screen on its head that shows “useful information”, “human-level” hands, force feedback sensing capability, Autopilot cameras via a multi-cam video neural network, and much more.
Musk did not mention whether it is planning to have the robot to be available for commercial use, but that’s likely something for them to decide once the concept is fully realised.
Tesla Bot is still a concept at this current time and no actual prototypes were made to be showcased during the event. The closest that the audience got to seeing the humanoid robot is, sadly (or thankfully?), an awkwardly costumed dancer and a CGI representation.
However, Musk said that Tesla is planning to have a prototype ready by next year. But honestly, it wouldn’t be surprising if the project would be hit by more than one delay, especially seeing how ambitious and complex it is.
Oh, here’s a bonus trivia for you Transformers fans out there: Musk says the Tesla Bot’s original codename was “Optimus”.