Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Friday showed off a prototype of the humanoid robot ‘Optimus’, predicting the electric vehicle maker would be able to produce millions of them and sell them for under $20,000 (roughly Rs. 16,33,000)- less than a third of the price of a Model Y.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done to refine Optimus and prove it,” Musk told the electric vehicle maker’s “AI Day” event being held at a Tesla office in Palo Alto, California, where the robot was showcased.
A prototype model that Tesla said was developed in February walked out to wave at the crowd on Friday, and Tesla showed a video of it doing simple tasks, such as watering plants, carrying boxes and lifting metal bars at a production station at the company’s California plant.
The team rolled out the more streamlined current generation bot on a cart and Musk said he hoped it would be able to walk itself soon.
He said existing humanoid robots are “missing a brain” – and the ability to solve problems on their own. By contrast, he said, Optimus would be an “extremely capable robot” that Tesla would aim to produce in the millions. He said he expected it would cost less than $20,000 (roughly Rs. 16,33,000).
Musk and Tesla representatives acknowledged that there was a lot of work to be done to achieve the goal of a mass-produced, low-cost robot, using Tesla-designed technology that would be capable of replacing humans at work.
Other automakers, including Toyota and Honda, have developed humanoid robot prototypes capable of doing complicated things like shooting a basketball, and production robots from ABB and others are a mainstay of auto manufacturing.
But Tesla is alone in pushing the market opportunity for a mass-market robot that could also be used in factory work.
A next-generation Tesla bot, which was rolled on stage by staff, will use Tesla-designed components, including a 2.3kWh battery pack carried in its torso, a chip system and actuators to drive its limbs. The robot is designed to weigh 73 kg.