Elon Musk shows off humanoid robot prototype at Tesla AI Day 2022

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, and other AI and hardware team executives spoke at the company’s 2022 AI Day event in Palo Alto, California, on Friday night to attract engineers.

Musk said in August 2021, during Tesla’s AI Day, that the company was developing a humanoid robot they called the Tesla Bot or Optimus. A dancer in a Tesla Bot spandex unitard stood on stage to represent the firm, since they lacked even a prototype now.

This time around, Musk had several of his Tesla staffers join him on stage to demonstrate a bipedal humanoid robot, which they said was only a “rough development robot,” strolling about and waving its hands. On stage in Palo Alto, the robot was reportedly seen moving about without the use of mechanical devices for the first time.

Musk welcomed the crowd of Tesla-focused social media influencers by announcing, “We’re going to speak about the improvements in AI for Full Self-Driving, as well as how they apply more broadly to real world AI challenges like a humanoid robot and even moving beyond that.” In my opinion, the work we’re doing at Tesla has the potential to have a significant impact on the field of artificial general intelligence.

And I believe honestly Tesla’s a terrific organization to do that, from a governance perspective, since we’re a publicly listed business with one class of ownership,” he said. The public, in other words, now has sway over Tesla, which is a good thing in my opinion. It’s crucial that you know you can fire me if I lose my mind. Perhaps I’m not as insane as I feel.”

Prior to Tesla, Elon Musk co-founded OpenAI, a company that specializes in artificial intelligence. In 2015, OpenAI claimed to have trained neural networks that allowed a robot-hand that resembled a human hand to solve a Rubik’s Cube problem.

Musk remarked at AI Day 2021, “It should be able to, ‘please go to the shop and bring me the following groceries,’ that type of thing.” Musk later said that Tesla’s robots might be more valuable than the company’s automobiles and that thousands of them will be used in Tesla facilities alongside people to assemble automobiles and batteries.

On Friday, Tesla staffers gave a presentation detailing their plans for the future of the company’s humanoid robot, which will have adaptive robotic hands and Tesla-designed actuators (essentially the robot’s muscle).

According to his LinkedIn profile, Milan Kovac is the Director of Engineering for Autopilot at Tesla, and he has stated that the company’s experiences developing driver assistance systems for Tesla vehicles, in particular computer vision systems, are assisting the company in determining how to make a humanoid robot work in the real world.

Experts in robotics have claimed that Tesla doesn’t need a bipedal robot to improve automation in its plants, but Tesla workers have been vocal about their commitment to the human form on Friday. Workers also reported developing a unique battery and actuators for their robots to minimize power consumption, allowing them to operate for a whole day on a single charge.

Employees of Tesla’s Autopilot division discussed at length their efforts to render Tesla vehicles autonomous without installing any additional hardware.

The Autopilot team at Tesla first used human data annotation to locate and characterize things in the brief videos produced by the cars’ cameras and sensors. Road borders, lane markers, and overlapping items like a person partially blocking a stop sign would all be pointed out by the data labelers.

The annotated videos are used to train Tesla’s neural networks and enhance the vehicle’s driver assistance systems, which let the vehicles navigate by themselves, autonomously avoiding obstacles under the supervision of the driver.

Tesla claims their newly developed auto-labeling system will enable them to consume 500,000 clips daily. After an automated labelling process, a human “finalizes” the labels with some help from the machine.

All the progress being made on Tesla-designed semiconductors and data infrastructure was also extensively covered in the presentations. A date for the commercial release of a fully autonomous vehicle that can operate safely in everyday traffic conditions was not provided.

Elon Musk shows off humanoid robot prototype at Tesla AI Day 2022-01
Credit: Tesla

Musk said that Tesla was hosting AI Day and displaying its robot prototype to “convince some of the most brilliant individuals in the world like you guys, to join Tesla and help make it a reality.”

For the CEO, the humanoid robot represents “a future of wealth, a future where there is no poverty, where people you can have anything, you want in terms of goods and services,” and therefore “can benefit millions of people.”

Musk, speaking in his usual bombastic style, said, “It truly is a profound revolution of society as we know it.”

Musk tweeted to his 107.4 million followers: “Naturally, there will be a catgirl version of our Optimus robot” after the CEO had left the stage but while the AI Day presentation was still going on.

When asked about how constructing a humanoid robot fits in with Tesla’s objective to hasten the world’s transition to renewable energy, Musk confessed that it didn’t. The goal of Tesla has been expanded, he stated, to include “making the future wonderful” thanks to Optimus.

He predicted that Optimus sales will begin within the next three to five years.

One of the attendees questioned Musk whether Tesla planned to sell its artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning system, the Dojo supercomputer. Musk has said that a Dojo service, like to Amazon Web Services (AWS), is preferable since it allows users to “train their models considerably quicker and for less money.”


Elon Musk shows off humanoid robot prototype at Tesla AI Day 2022-02
Credit: Tesla

Musk’s bold assertions are met with skepticism from certain quarters and adoration from his legion of admirers.

Since 2016, Tesla’s celebrity CEO has been touting self-driving electric vehicles and has raised billions of dollars by assuring shareholders that Tesla’s autonomous vehicle innovation will let consumers to transform their cars into functioning robotaxis with only a software update.

To now, all Tesla has produced are driver assistance technologies that must be continually overseen by a human driver, despite Musk’s promise of a coast-to-coast driverless showcase by the end of 2017.

Federal and state level safety investigations, as well as charges of false advertising, have been launched into Tesla’s driver assistance systems, which are advertised as Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, FSD (short for Full Self-Driving capabilities), and FSD Beta in the US.

Tesla has also had some trouble with factory automation in the past. Musk said in 2018 that “excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake” and that “people are underestimated” after the company tried to automate several steps in the car manufacturing and quality assurance processes.

We anticipate Tesla’s third-quarter car production and delivery data to be posted within days after the hiring event. The quarterly delivery reports are widely monitored by shareholders because they provide the closest estimate for sales given by Tesla.

Some Important Considerations

  • Musk, CEO of Tesla, claims that AI Day 2022 was primarily a hiring event.
  • The business demonstrated prototypes of their humanoid robot and claimed to be working on advanced power sources and actuation mechanisms for them.
  • Musk has said that he anticipates Tesla customers would be able to order an Optimus humanoid robot in three to five years.

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