Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed more details about Tesla Optimus, the company’s next humanoid robot, and how he plans to roll out the product over the next decade.
Over the past few years, Musk has become quite close to the Chinese government.
In a country known for its protectionism, the CEO managed to mark for Tesla the first car factory in China wholly owned by a foreign automaker.
He also often praises the country’s technical and scientific prowess while limiting his criticism of China’s authoritarian regime.
Now, in another example of Musk getting closer to China, the CEO has been asked to post a column in the Cyberspace Administration of China’s official publication. The government agency has broad power in China to control internet and data security.
In the column titled “Believe in technology for a better future,” Musk reiterated his goals for SpaceX to enable humanity to become multi-planetary and Tesla to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy.
Interestingly, Musk also wrote an entire section on Tesla Optimus, the company’s humanoid robot project. The CEO recently said that the robot project had become a top priority at Teslaand it shows how much time there has been in the new column.
Here is the relevant part of a translated version in English by Chinese state media Beijing Channel:
Today’s cars increasingly look like intelligent, web-connected robots on wheels. In fact, in addition to cars, humanoid robots are also becoming a reality, with Tesla launching a general-purpose humanoid robot (Tesla Bot) in 2021. The Tesla Bot is close to the size and weight of an adult, can carry or pick up, lift heavy objects, walk quickly with small steps, and the screen on his face is an interactive interface for communication with people. You might be wondering why we designed this robot with legs. Because human society is based on the interaction of a bipedal humanoid with two arms and ten fingers. So if we want a robot to adapt to its environment and be able to do what humans do, it needs to be roughly the same size, shape, and capabilities as a human.
Tesla robots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring and dangerous tasks. But the vision is that they serve millions of households, such as cooking, lawn mowing and elderly care.
Achieving this goal requires that robots evolve to be intelligent enough and that we have the ability to mass-produce robots. Our “four-wheeled robots” – cars – have changed the way people travel and even live. One day when we solve the problem of self-driving cars (i.e. real-world artificial intelligence), we can extend artificial intelligence technology to humanoid robots, which will have a much wider application than cars.
We plan to launch the first prototype of a humanoid robot this year and focus on improving the intelligence of this robot and solving the problem of large-scale production. Thereafter, the usefulness of humanoid robots will increase every year as production increases and costs decrease. In the future, a home robot might 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.
It is foreseeable that with the power of robots, we will create an era of extreme abundance of goods and services, where everyone can live a life of abundance. Perhaps the only shortage that will exist in the future is for us to create ourselves as humans.
In the article, Musk makes it clear that Tesla plans for the robot to go beyond industrial work and be used in homes to perform household chores and even care for the elderly.
Tesla should will unveil the first working prototype of its humanoid robot on September 30 during its Tesla AI Day 2.
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