Tesla demonstrated a significant improvement in the functionality of the Optimus robot during its annual shareholder meeting. The company was able to go from the idea of a robot to a functional prototype in less than two years.
Tesla first announced plans to launch a humanoid bipedal robot at AI Day in August 2021. At the time, it was just an idea. For the demonstration, a human in a tight robot-like suit took the stage, making bizarre dance moves. Few people were able to see more than this and get the gist of the idea of a bipedal humanoid robot.
While the general public scoffed and questioned Tesla's plans, the company worked intensely. On April 7, 2022, during the Giga Texas launch event, Musk said Tesla could start production of the first version of the robot in 2023.
“We have a shot of being in production for version one of Optimus hopefully next year,” he said.
In October 2022, Tesla showed the Optimus prototype at AI Day. V1 robot could walk untethered on its own, while V2 stood tethered. During Investor Day in March 2023, Tesla demonstrated several robots. They moved independently and worked together to accomplish some tasks. The company paid special attention to the progress of the custom-built actuator, which its own team is working on.
During the 2023 Annual Shareholders Meeting on May 16, Tesla again demonstrated progress in the development of Optimus, and it seems impressive. In a video that was shot just hours before the meeting, the company showed off five actual robotic humanoids. They performed various tasks such as walking, detecting new environments and memorizing them, picking up, lifting, and putting down things, and more. The robots moved both indoors and outdoors. The video also showed that the AI that drives the robots is trained by human demonstrations to perform various everyday tasks. Tesla robots now have a production-ready chassis. Their walking has improved dramatically. Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that Optimus will use the same self-driving software as the company's electric cars.
Musk reiterated the robot's enormous potential for the company. He said demand for the Tesla Bot could reach 10 to 20 billion units. Musk suggested that Tesla's future business will be based on the humanoid robot.
“Tesla's long-term value, a majority of its value will be Optimus. And that prediction I'm confident of,” he said. Musk added that the number of Tesla robots will far outnumber the company's global vehicle fleet.
© 2023, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.