by Fred Lambert
August 20, 2021
Tesla announced that it is actually going to make a humanoid robot, called Tesla Bot, and it will be able to grab your groceries for you and perform other menial tasks. No, it’s not a joke. At its “AI Day” today, Tesla released many details about its progress to develop AI technology to power its self-driving system.
But as we expected, there was a “one more thing” moment, and it was robots. CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla plans to build a humanoid robot called Tesla Bot. Musk described Tesla as already being the biggest robotic company in the world, considering the capabilities of its vehicles to see and understand the world around them and act on that information.
The CEO believes that it makes sense for Tesla to use their significant advancements in computer vision, but instead of deploying in a robot on four wheels, the company will do it in a humanoid robot. Musk said that Tesla Bot will be geared toward doing “repetitive and boring tasks.” Here are the basic specs for the robot as described by Tesla during the presentation.
It’s going to share a lot of the technology found in Tesla vehicles today, including the FSD computer that will receive data from a very similar suite of sensors. Tesla released this slide regarding the AI hardware in the Tesla Bot:
Using a similar suite of AI hardware will enable Tesla to leverage the development that it is already doing in the process of delivering a full self-driving car. The main new sector of technology for Tesla is going to be the humanoid format, which Tesla released only a few details about:
On that front, we previously reported that Tesla has been working with famed roboticist Dennis Hong, who specializes in humanoid robots. While Musk didn’t go into many details about the overall capabilities of the Tesla Bot and exactly what tasks it will be able to do, he hinted that the ultimate goal is for the robot to eventually be able to replace most “dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks.” He specifically referenced sending the Tesla Bot out to go get your groceries at the store as an example.
But the CEO said that they are making the robot because they already making almost all of the technology to create it, and if “Tesla doesn’t do it, someone else will,” and they want to do it safely. The long-term vision is to replace most labor, and Musk reiterated his support for universal income, which would be required if the Tesla Bot has the impact that Musk is expecting. The CEO says that the company plans to have a prototype ready for “sometime next year.”
Electrek’s Take As I write this, I feel like I am being pranked, and Elon didn’t help by having a dancer in a robot suit show up onstage to do a little dance before announcing the Tesla Bot. Well played. But ultimately, it does make sense. Tesla is developing a lot of technology for its cars that would transfer to a humanoid general-purpose robot.
However, it does sound like a very ambitious plan that is still very early in its development. I believe a lot of current Tesla owners who purchased the Full Self-Driving package just want Tesla to focus on delivering that. That’s fair, but there is definitely a lot of potential synergy between the two projects. I am on board because ultimately, the world is more exciting with this Tesla Bot project in it, but I am not expecting this to hit the market for quite a few years.