Elon Musk has more to say about Tesla’s humanoid robot

Photo: Tesla.

Tesla is set to unveil a new humanoid robot, called Optimus, at the end of September.

Tesla’s strategy for entering the robotics market has been the subject of much speculation, and a recent message from boss Elon Musk shed some new light.

In this message, published in the official documentation of the Chinese Cyberspace Administration, Elon Musk continues to argue what he has emphasized since the announcement of the Tesla Bot project in 2021: Tesla, due to its significant investment in autonomous driving , is probably the largest robotics company in the world.

A new category of humanoid robots

While some of the big robotics players, like ABB, might dispute that claim, Elon Musk has a point. Tesla deals not only with the software foundations of automation (artificial intelligence, neural networks, differential motors), but also with hardware (sensors, actuators).

If the company has so far focused on wheeled machines, is it really a big step to put the same technology on a bipedal humanoid?

Just a few years ago, the answer was probably yes. But advances in bipedal gait reproduction over the past 15 years, along with advances in robotic controls by companies like Boston Dynamics, have paved the way for a new class of humanoid robots.

Domestic robotics in the viewfinder

The wonder is how a humanoid robot fits into Tesla’s business model. And the answer is not so clear. In his message, Elon Musk clearly emphasizes that the idea is to ultimately target the general public with domestic robotics.

But this market has proven to be very frugal and has yet to reach any notable maturity, with a few notable exceptions (including iRobot’s Roomba).

Of course, this does not mean that the market will not evolve, and Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot is likely to bring a lot of publicity for this area.

Tesla in homes

But between a robot vacuum cleaner and a humanoid robot, there is a world. And a lot has to happen in terms of technological development and production costs to reach that reality.

Arguably, in fact, Elon Musk is positioning Tesla to be part of the fight for decades to come.

Whether the company’s interest in this development can survive what is almost certainly a failure after this recent hype remains to be seen: humanoid robots are not yet ready to go mainstream when it comes to making others’ t different routines in unstructured environments.

Look to fit

“Today’s cars are like intelligent, connected robots on wheels. In fact, apart from cars, humanoid robots are also becoming a reality, with Tesla and his versatile humanoid robot (Tesla Bot),” argues Elon Musk in his article.

“Tesla Bot has a size and weight close to an adult, it can carry or pick up heavy objects, walk quickly with small steps, and the screen on its face is an interactive interface for talking to others”, he describes.

“You might be wondering why we designed this robot with legs? Because human society is based on the interaction of a biped with two arms and ten fingers. So if we want a robot to adapt to the environment for it to be able to do what humans do, it must be roughly the same size, shape, and capabilities as a human. »

Technology and production are advanced

“Tesla Bot was originally intended to replace people in repetitive, boring and dangerous tasks. Eventually, the goal is that it can serve millions of households – for example to cook, cut lawns or -take care of the elderly,” explained the head of Tesla.

“To achieve this goal, robots must evolve to be intelligent enough, and we must have the ability to make many of them,” he added.

“Our ‘four-wheeled robots’ – cars – have changed the way people move and live. One day, when we solve the problem of self-driving cars (ie artificial intelligence in the real world), we will be able to extend artificial intelligence technology to humanoid robots, which will have wider applications than cars . »

The exclusion of man

“We plan to launch the first humanoid robot prototype this year, and focus on improving the intelligence of this robot and solving the problem of large-scale production,” said Elon Musk.

“After that, the usefulness of humanoid robots will increase every year as production increases and costs decrease. In the future, a home robot may be cheaper than a car. Maybe in less than a decade people will be able to buy a robot for their parents as a birthday present,” he predicted.

“With the power of robots, it is possible that an era of superabundance of goods and services will be created, where everyone can live a life of abundance. In this future, perhaps the only exception is what we create itself as a person. »

Source: ZDNet.com

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