Elon Musk unveils Tesla’s prototype humanoid robot

A rudimentary prototype of the robot that Elon Musk claims will one day be a part of everyday life for millions of people made its first tentative public appearance late Friday: pushed onto the stage by three brainless Tesla workers and who were barely able to wave at an audience.

The tech industry’s pre-eminent showman, however, seemed undeterred by the severe limitations of the much-anticipated robot demonstration, instead claiming that the robot’s hardware comes close to what his electric car company would put into mass production. It included 28 specially designed actuators to control the robot’s movements, a sleek, shiny metal body, and a battery that can power the robot for a whole day.

“Our goal is to make a usable human robot as soon as possible,” Musk said, adding that the price of the machine could eventually drop below $20,000. Finally, he used Tesla’s annual “AI Day” to say that he believes his company’s work on artificial intelligence could “contribute to AGI,” or artificial general intelligence, the technology that could make machines possible , to surpass people.

The robot demonstration came more than a year after Musk first announced that Tesla planned to build humanoid robots that could perform a variety of tasks at home and at work. He drew ridicule at the time for using a dancing actor in a tight battle costume to show what the robot would look like.

The Tesla boss began Friday with unusual caution, saying he wanted to “raise expectations” about the current state of the technology before showing off the robot prototype. But comparing the machine to last year’s dancing robot impersonator, he added: “We’ve come a long way compared to that. That will be very impressive.”

Musk said he believes the robot, called Optimus, will be able to walk in a few weeks. However, he said the robots “lack a brain – they don’t have the intelligence to navigate the world”.

Before the Optimus prototype was pushed onto the stage, Musk showed off another robot that Tesla engineers built using off-the-shelf parts from other companies. He could walk and was shown in videos carrying boxes and watering plants. It was unclear if the machine was remotely operated or moving under its own control as she slowly walked onto the stage, waving and performing a cautious dance move.

Musk said Friday’s robot demonstrations, along with updates on his company’s self-driving car technology, should attract more engineers with AI experience to work at Tesla. However, his high demands on the robots guaranteed a wide audience for the YouTube broadcast of the event.

Video: Will Tesla’s robot Optimus become a reality? | FT Tech

https://www.ft.com/content/ea6b6c12-9931-4e8f-9b9d-61e5c58fdfb8 Elon Musk unveils Tesla’s prototype humanoid robot

Adam Bradshaw

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