Optimus, also known as Tesla Bot, is a conceptual general-purpose robotic humanoid under development by Tesla, Inc.[1] It was announced at the company's Artificial Intelligence (AI) Day event on August 19, 2021.[1] CEO Elon Musk claimed during the event that Tesla would likely build a prototype by 2022.[2] Musk is on record having said that he thinks Optimus "has the potential to be more significant than [Tesla's] vehicle business over time."[3][4]

Optimus at an Exhibition in 2023
ManufacturerTesla, Inc.
Year of creation2022; 1 year ago (2022)

History edit

On April 7, 2022, a display for the product was featured at the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing facility during the Cyber Rodeo event. Musk said that he hopes to have the robot production-ready by 2023 and claimed Optimus will eventually be able to do "anything that humans don’t want to do."[3]

In June 2022, Musk announced the first prototype that Tesla hopes to unveil later in 2022 at the second AI Day event will not look anything like the display model at Cyber Rodeo.[5]

In September 2022, semi-functional prototypes of Optimus were displayed at Tesla's second AI Day.[6][7] One prototype was able to walk about the stage and another, sleeker version could move its arms.[8][9]

In September 2023, Tesla released a video demonstrating Optimus doing new activities including sorting colored blocks by color, its ability to locate its limbs in space and demonstrating its flexibility by maintaining a yoga pose.[10]

Specifications edit

Tesla Bot is planned to measure 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) tall and weigh 125 lb (57 kg). According to the presentation made during the first AI Day event, a Tesla Bot will be "controlled by the same AI system Tesla is developing for the advanced driver-assistance system used in its cars" and have a carrying capacity of 45 lb (20 kg).[11] Proposed tasks for the product are ones that are "dangerous, repetitive and boring", such as providing manufacturing assistance.[12]

Reception edit

Initial reactions edit

Soon after the first AI Day event, many publications reacted with skepticism about the proposed product. Bloomberg News claimed that such a product constituted "mission creep" and stood outside "the company’s clean-energy initiatives."[13] The Washington Post argued that "Tesla has a history of exaggerating timelines and overpromising at its product unveilings and investor presentations."[1] The Verge similarly noted that "Tesla’s history is littered with fanciful ideas that never panned out... it’s anyone’s guess as to whether a working Tesla Bot will ever see the light of day"[14] and, in an editorial, described the Tesla Bot reveal as a "bizarre and brilliant bit of tomfoolery".[15]

The progress made with the prototypes shown at the second AI Day was praised by some commentators.[16] Other commentators stipulated that all that was shown in these latest presentations had already been accomplished by other robotics programs,[17] and that there appears to be little to suggest Tesla could "outpace other companies working on similar things."[18]

Expert opinions edit

Reactions across the robotics community to Optimus and its prototypes have been "diverse", with many experts commending the venture while describing early demonstrations as less than impressive.[19]

Carl Berry, a lecturer of robotics engineering, described the 2021 AI Day presentation as "the usual overblown hype."[15] Following the Tesla Bot display at the Cyber Rodeo event, researcher Gary Marcus stated he would "bet that no robot will be able to do all human tasks by the end of 2023."[3]

Regarding the second AI Day presentation, Deutsche Welle cited experts - AI researcher Filip Piekniewski, robotics expert Cynthia Yeung and executive director of Mass Robotics Tom Ryden - calling the project a "complete and utter scam", questioning how advanced it really was, and criticizing the choice of a humanoid form.[20]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Tesla says it is building a 'friendly' robot that will perform menial tasks, won't fight back". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  2. ^ Leswing, Kif (August 20, 2021). "Elon Musk says Tesla will build a humanoid robot prototype by next year". CNBC. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Shead, Sam (April 8, 2022). "Elon Musk says production of Tesla's robot could start next year, but A.I. experts have their doubts". CNBC. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  4. ^ Bikram, Sanjan (December 4, 2022). "Optimus; Humanoid Elon Musk Tesla Robot". Sanjan. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  5. ^ Will the Optimus prototype look the same (or at least very similar) to the display model at the Giga Texas opening?, retrieved June 18, 2022
  6. ^ Jackson, Will. "Tesla Optimus Robot - A mechanics deep dive - The Good The Bad and The Ugly". www.linkedin.com. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  7. ^ "Tesla boss Elon Musk presents humanoid robot Optimus". BBC News. October 1, 2022. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  8. ^ Edwards, Benj (October 1, 2022). "Tesla shows off unfinished humanoid robot prototypes at AI Day 2022". Ars Technica. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  9. ^ Kolodny, Lora. "Tesla". CNBC. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  10. ^ "Tesla Bot Update Sort And Stretch". Youtube. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  11. ^ "Tesla Bot: AI-controlled humanoid robot revealed". Motor Authority. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  12. ^ "Tesla Promised a Robot. Was It Just a Recruiting Pitch?". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  13. ^ Hull, Dana (August 19, 2021). "Elon Musk Unveils Humanoid Robot to Take Over 'Boring' Work". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  14. ^ O'Kane, Sean (August 19, 2021). "Elon Musk says Tesla is working on humanoid robots". The Verge. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  15. ^ a b Vincent, James (August 20, 2021). "Don't overthink it: Elon Musk's Tesla Bot is a joke". The Verge. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  16. ^ Jin, Hyunjoo (October 1, 2022). "Tesla's robot waves but can't walk, yet. Musk plans to make millions of them". Reuters. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  17. ^ "Tesla Optimus robot walks, waves, but didn't impress in demonstration". Boston Herald. October 1, 2022. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  18. ^ "For Better or Worse, Tesla Bot Is Exactly What We Expected". IEEE Spectrum. October 1, 2022. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  19. ^ "What Robotics Experts Think of Tesla's Optimus Robot - IEEE Spectrum". spectrum.ieee.org. Retrieved October 27, 2023.
  20. ^ "Tesla AI robot: Musk's new humanoid disappoints experts". dw.com. DW. October 1, 2022. Retrieved October 1, 2022.