An uncharacteristically subdued Elon Musk introduced some brief video on the Optimus prototype, noting that as lately as October final yr, it needed to be rolled out on stage to wave like a politician.
“It is price taking into account that after we did AI day, this model of Optimus did not stroll in any respect,” stated Musk. “So the speed of enchancment right here is sort of important. It is clearly not doing parkour, however it’s strolling round, and now we have a number of copies, I suppose, of Optimus.”
The video reveals Optimus strolling round – albeit pretty slowly compared to the parkour-capable Atlas robotic by Boston Dynamics. It additionally makes use of its opposable thumbs and human-like palms, in a sequence through which one Optimus robotic unplugs a dismembered Optmus arm from a take a look at stand, picks it up, and carries it over to a workstation the place one other bot is engaged on a 3rd. With some artful enhancing, it gives the look that the primary robotic is holding the arm in place whereas the second bolts it onto the third robotic in a mockup of android-based manufacturing.
If it suffers compared to Atlas, it is not alone. Atlas is essentially the most superior humanoid robotic on the planet, and has been for a few years now. However the context right here is vital; Boston Dynamics has been engaged on bio-mimetic robots since 1992. It unveiled its first humanoid PETMAN robotic in 2009, and inside two years it was proven strolling, squatting, kneeling and balancing towards push forces. Atlas made its debut in 2013, and has taken a stable 10 years to study to dance, do parkour, and start to carry out some primary duties. So it appears honest to present the youthful Optimus bot time to catch up.
“The factor that Tesla brings to the desk that others haven’t got, we’re essentially the most superior in real-world AI,” stated Musk. “So the identical AI that drives the automobile … You may consider the automobile as a robotic on wheels, and it is a robotic on legs. I do not suppose there’s anybody even near Tesla on fixing real-world AI. It is not that useful to have a humanoid robotic if you need to program each motion. It wants to have the ability to stroll round autonomously and resolve duties. it is best to be capable of instruct it in easy issues, by displaying visually the robotic must do, or simply telling it what to do. That is the important thing benefit that now we have.”
“We’re additionally good at designing issues for manufacturing, and manufacturing at scale,” he continued. “The actuators in Optimus are all customized Tesla actuators. We designed the electrical motor, the gearbox, the facility electronics, clearly the battery pack, the whole lot else that goes into Optimus. We have been fairly shocked to seek out how little was obtainable off the shelf. There is a huge variety of electrical motors and gearboxes and whatnot obtainable on this planet, and we discovered none of them have been helpful in a humanoid robotic. So the identical staff that designed the groundbreaking electrical motors in, say, the Mannequin S Plaid, designed the actuators within the robotic. For sensible functions what this implies is that we must always be capable of carry an precise product to market at scale that’s helpful, far quicker than anybody else.”
Whereas this stays to be seen, it is undoubtedly a departure from the research-first, limited-scale commercialization method Boston Dynamics has taken. Tesla is growing its robotic to be a mass-manufactured product from the get-go, and one helpful sufficient to turn into a general-purpose labor saver.
After all, general-purpose humanoid robots are projected to have an unbelievable impression on society as a complete, and whereas Musk is pushing exhausting to get this stuff constructed and into service as rapidly as potential, he is effectively conscious of what they may imply.
“Assuming the issues I am saying are true, a minimum of, they’re true, it is only a query of the timing, you begin stepping into fascinating questions,” he says. “You may see a house use for robots, actually industrial makes use of for humanoid robots. I feel we’d exceed a 1:1 ratio of humanoid robots to people. It is not even clear what an economic system means at that time. If an economic system is output per individual occasions individuals, but when output is far greater and there isn’t any restrict on individuals, then what is the precise restrict on the economic system? We’re nonetheless fairly removed from Kardashev scales right here, however we’re getting there.”
When requested if near-future generations of AI, mixed with humanoid robots, may begin serving to Tesla by way of its automotive “manufacturing hell,” Musk did not suppose so, however admitted that even he is perhaps out of a job as soon as they will.
“I do not see AI serving to us make vehicles any time quickly,” he stated. “At that time, I imply, there isn’t any level in any of us working I feel. We must always all simply relax. I’m slightly nervous in regards to the AI stuff, I feel it is one thing we needs to be involved about. I feel we’d like some type of regulatory authority overseeing AI growth and ensuring it is working throughout the public curiosity. It is fairly a harmful expertise. I concern I could have achieved some issues to speed up it, which is … I do not know … I feel Tesla’s doing good issues in AI, however this one stresses me out, so I do not know what to say about it.”
Nonetheless, it is full steam forward on the Tesla Bot, and Musk nonetheless believes traders do not but know what they’re taking a look at.
“It is in all probability the least understood or appreciated a part of what we’re doing at Tesla, however will in all probability be price considerably greater than the automobile aspect of issues long-term,” he stated.
You may bounce to 1:48:20 within the video beneath to see the place Optimus is at.
2023 Investor Day