Elon Musk unveils the prototype of the humanoid robot Optimus

Elon Musk svela il prototipo del robot umanoide Optimus thumbnail

Al Tesla AI Day 2022, Elon Musk unveiled the first “close to production” prototype of the humanoid robot Optimus. Musk acknowledged that the one announced last year was just “a guy in a costume”, but this time the robot was able to take the stage and greet the audience using the AI ​​software developed by Tesla.

Elon Musk unveils the prototype of Optimus, Tesla’s robot

Musk explained that Tesla has the ability to develop AI software and robotic elements thanks to the experience accumulated in producing electric cars. So while it sounds counterintuitive, the Optimus robot is kind of a humanoid evolution of what it is Tesla is developing for the automotive world.

And the experience in the production of the automotive brand will allow produce millions of units. At least according to Musk, which he thinks the robot will cost “Probably less than $ 20,000”. But it must be said that at the moment even the prototype is far from ready: a group of Tesla (human) workers had to take it off the stage.

The humanoid robot Optimus at Tesla AI Day

At first, Tesla announced a prototype called Bumble C, which does not have circuit coverage (like the one you see on the cover of the article). She knew how to move forward, greet and do a few dance steps with your hands. But Musk said they didn’t want to overdo his movements, risking him “falling face down on stage”. After all, he didn’t want to repeat the incident with the Cybertruck’s hammer.

But then Tesla also showed a prototype with the finishes that should be final, like the one you see above. For Musk is “very close to production”although he merely greeted the audience and was carried off the stage by attendants.

A concentrate of technology

Tesla appears to have combined several of its own technical skills to create these prototypes, from batteries to AI. In fact it will have 2.3 kWh batteriesto power the proprietary chip Tesla SoCequipped with both Wi-Fi and LTE connection.

The Tesla engineering team also worked to make sure that all joint movements, from wrists to knees, were possible through only six types of actuators. A move that should help the robot’s production. But that should be enough to have hands capable of lifting different types of objects, both small and delicate and heavy and bulky.

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The Optimus robot is moved by it same software as Tesla’s Autopilot, rethought for the humanoid robot’s sensors and the environments in which it will move. Tesla used motion capture technology to see how people lift boxes and other simple actions, and then used conversion algorithms to program the robot.

A “fundamental transformation of society” (but not immediately)

Musk explained that Tesla’s robot will be “A fundamental transformation for civilization as we know it”. The robot will have a potential “two orders of magnitude” boost to the economy by reinventing the way we do different jobs. Although for the moment there is no date for the release of this product.

The applications promised on stage range from the ability to cook to that of managing a garden, with the possibility that the production “start next year”. But over the years we’ve seen how Musk isn’t necessarily always accurate with Tesla product release predictions, so many commentators remain skeptical.

The prototype seen on stage underlines how the company is actually investing in these technologies, but anyone who is passionate about technology knows that years often pass between prototype and mass production. And sometimes the product never hits the market. So the revolution of the world of work promised by Musk (which could take on idyllic or dystopian tones) for the moment still seems distant. But undoubtedly closer.