Tesla’s Elon Musk Is Betting On Humanoid Bot, Not Cars, As The Company’s Icon
By Mikelle Leow, 21 Apr 2022
Video screenshot via Tesla
In the coming years, when you think of Tesla, it won’t be an image of an electric car that pops up but a robot. That’s according to the vision of CEO Elon Musk, who recently expressed that people are underestimating the potential of ‘Optimus’, the humanoid bot that Tesla is working on.
“People have no idea this is going to be bigger than the car,” Musk shared in a TED interview. He reiterated this point during Tesla’s earnings call on Wednesday, declaring: “I was surprised that people did not realize the magnitude of the Optimus robot program.”
“The importance of Optimus will become apparent in the coming years,” Musk added on Wednesday. “Those who are insightful or looking, listening carefully, will understand that Optimus will ultimately be worth more than the car business, worth more than [Full Self-Driving].”
Tesla unveiled the human-sized Optimus, then called ‘Tesla Bot’, on its inaugural AI Day in August 2021. It said that the robot could be trained to take on “dangerous, repetitive, [or] boring” tasks that humans tend to steer clear from, such as grocery shopping and carrying payloads.
In the recent TED interview, Musk shared that when Optimus becomes more advanced, it could even handle more complicated things like cooking meals, mowing the lawn, and being a caretaker.
He anticipates that Optimus will be just one of the many humanoid robots available for deployment in homes by 2050. Before that happens, though, engineers will need to install enough intelligence in them for the bots to “navigate the real world and do useful things without being explicitly instructed”—two skills that make up the Tesla system.
The Tesla bot will be here sooner than you think. Musk is projecting that an early version of Optimus will be demonstrated as soon as 2023.
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