While Tesla’s Optimus robot won’t begin production until next year, a prototype demonstration is apparently just a few months away. There has been a significant amount of doubt about how quickly Tesla can produce a humanoid robot, particularly given the challenging design goals that CEO Elon Musk described last year.
The earliest mention of the Tesla Bot was in August of 2021 at the company’s AI Day event. The majority of the presentation detailed Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software and the computers used to process the vast amounts of data being transmitted from every Tesla vehicle on the road. The end goal is to make the car completely autonomous, in effect, creating a rolling robot. That set the stage, literally, for the Tesla humanoid robot and Musk excitedly described this new venture which could be Tesla’s most revolutionary product.
There was always a chance that an early version of Telsa’s robot could be shown at Tesla’s next AI Day, which was previously scheduled to take place on August 19, 2022. According to Elon Musk’s recent Tweet, the date of the event has been pushed back by a little more than a month to allow more time to prepare a prototype of Tesla’s humanoid robot, which Musk fondly refers to as Optimus. When the idea for the Tesla Bot was first announced in 2021, it was jokingly called Optimus Sub-Prime, a reference to Optimus Prime, the leader of the Transformers in the animated TV show of the same name. The ‘Sub-Prime’ portion of the robot’s nickname serves to acknowledge the greatly superior technology of the fictional character. As an early prototype, it would be best to keep the ‘Sub-Prime’ nickname in mind while seeing what’s coming in September.
Why Is Tesla Making A Robot?
Elon Musk tends to present grand plans that span decades of effort and envision technology that doesn’t exist yet in order to fire up employees and consumers for short-term projects. For example, colonizing Mars is more exciting than launching satellites into orbit. The concept presented for the Optimus robot is just as dramatic, potentially ushering in a work-free utopia with autonomous robots doing the bidding of every human and handling every unpleasant and dangerous task. It sounds wonderful and perhaps a bit far-fetched, at least in the near term.
Among the best humanoid robots developed so far is Boston Dynamics Atlas, which not only walks and runs on two legs but can dance and leap while maintaining its balance. This isn’t, however, an intelligent robot that can be given verbal commands to carry out without help. That’s what Tesla is planning to make with its human-sized, AI-powered, autonomous Optimus robot, and it will take much longer than a year to launch something like that.