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Tesla’s robot is now a real robot, not just a guy in a suit anymore • TechCrunch


Tesla CEO Elon Musk kicked off his 2022 Tesla AI Day with a level that quickly set off expectations – “we’ve come a long way” – and then stepped aside to allowing his robot to step onto the stage for the first time.

The robot is not a human in a robot costume like last year. Instead, Tesla showed off a working robot, albeit with exposed and slightly wobbly cables, at its second annual event. According to Musk, this is the first time it has operated without “any support, cranes, mechanics or cables”.

Tesla robot in action

Tesla robot moves and waves

After a brief rotation of the stage, the robot left the stage before the rest of the presentation continued, which included several short videos of the robot (now strapped down for stability) carrying a box in the office. , watering plants and lifting a small piece of metal in the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.

The purpose of the rollout and subsequent presentation, in which several Tesla employees gave what can only be described as a bipedal robotics course, was to show more progress. (After all, anything but a human in a costume could be considered progressive). Instead, the event aims to announce where Tesla is leading, bolster confidence in its trajectory, and (hopefully) recruit the talent it needs to continue the program.

Show Tesla robot specifications

Image credits: Show Tesla robot specifications

Ultimately, Musk said the first-generation prototype, which he calls the Bumble C, will evolve into Optimus. This ultimate robot will be able to walk efficiently and balance, carry a 20-pound bag, use tools, and have precise handles for small robots. The Bumble C prototype is powered by a 2.3 kilowatt-hour battery, which a Tesla employee says is “perfect for all-day work.”

Tesla introduced a second bot, which doesn’t have the same functionality as Bumble C, but has a sleeker look. This bot, who can’t walk, was brought to the stage by the staff.

Some of the robot’s specifications have changed since last year. For example, the bot’s weight has increased from 125 pounds to 160 pounds.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Tesla’s bot roadshow is the repeated references and crossovers between Tesla vehicles – and notably Its Autopilot strategy.

The company says it is taking advantage of its power products and using those components for bots, including battery management. The supercomputer used in Tesla cars is also in the Tesla bot. And Tesla is also tapping into the hardware and software used in its Autopilot advanced driver assistance system for bots. The Tesla bot is also equipped wireless connectivity as well as audio support and hardware-grade security features, which the company says are “critical for protecting both the robot and the people around it”.

A big question is being raised as to whether all these efficiencies, when combined in a bot, will result in a scalable robot that works. Of course, Musk thinks that’s entirely possible, going as far as to say that he envisions the Optimus will cost just $20,000.

At the end of the nearly three-hour program, Musk said the Tesla bot would start small.

“We’re going to start Optimist with very simple tests in the factory,” Musk said. “You know, it’s like maybe only partial loading like you saw on the video.”

He then added: “For now, we just want to make the basic humanoid work, and our goal is the fastest route to a useful humanoid.”

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