Tesla’s humanoid robots are going on sale

  • Despite still being in development, Elon Musk says the robots his car maker Tesla is building should go on sale by the end of the year.
  • The humanoid robots are expected to complete dangerous and mundane tasks at manufacturing facilities.
  • After the latest Gen 2 upgrade, the Tesla robots are more human-like than ever.

The CEO of carmaker Tesla says the humanoid robots the company is building as a side-project could probably go on sale as soon as the end of this year. The robots were initially revealed in 2021, during an AI Day event held by Tesla.

At that time the robots were still in the concept phase and were envisioned to perform dangerous and mundane tasks at Tesla facilities. Musk noted at the initial reveal that the machines would be able to move at 8km/h and carry up to 20kgs at a time.

After several years of design and upgrade work, the latest iteration of the humanoid robot is called “Optimus” after the leader of the Autobots from the Transformers series. Now in its second generation, the robots are now faster, can carry more weight and have better AI operating their systems.

Musk told investors this week that he suspects the Optimus robots would be able to start working at factories by the end of the year. According to Reuters, Musk added that robot sales could become a larger part of Tesla’s business than its current main sales driver, self-driving electric cars.

“I think Tesla is best positioned of any humanoid robot maker to be able to reach volume production with efficient inference on the robot itself,” Musk said on the investor call.

Other firms are also working on humanoid robots, or even robots to aid in manufacturing. Companies like Xiaomi are also looking into humanoid AI-powered machines, but Tesla’s biggest competition would likely be Amazon.

The ecommerce titan is betting on its Agility Robotics subsidiary to roll out humanoid robots at its distribution centres to bolster its human workforce. This robot is called “Digit” and is able to pick up and move packages, containers, and answer customer orders, and because it has legs and not wheels, can navigate stairs and other obstacles.

Boston Dynamics also unveiled a new electric platform for its Atlas humanoid robot last week. This upgraded machine was shown getting up from an awkward lying down position to show off its spatial awareness.

But before we all start counting pennies for what is likely an extremely expensive machine (which will likely on be offered to big corporations), Musk has a history of boasting and promising investors products, which never see the light of day. He told Tesla investors that the company would be operating a network of autonomous taxis by 2020.

There is also the whole “Boring Company” thing.


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