Elon Musk shows off prototype humanoid robot at Tesla’s AI Day

Tesla unveils early prototype of Optimus humanoid robot at AI Day 2022 on September 30


Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other leaders from the automaker’s artificial intelligence and hardware teams spoke at the company’s 2022 AI Day, an engineering recruiting event in Palo Alto, California, on Friday night.

During the last AI Day in August 2021, Musk said that Tesla was building a humanoid robot, known as Tesla Bot or Optimus. The company didn’t have much originality to show at the time, and instead featured a dancer dressed in a Tesla Bot spandex unitard on stage.

This year, Musk and the Tesla employees who accompanied him on stage showed a bipedal humanoid robot, which they said was just a “robot in rough development,” walking and waving its arms in the air. They said the robot was walking without mechanical supports for the first time on stage in Palo Alto.

To warm up the audience, which included Tesla-focused social media influencers, Musk said: We’ll talk about AI developments for full self-driving, as well as how they apply more generally to real-world AI problems like a humanoid robot and even beyond. I think there’s some possibility that what we’re doing here at Tesla could make a meaningful contribution to AGI [artificial general intelligence].”

And he continued, “And I think actually Tesla is a good entity to do that, from a governance perspective, because we’re a publicly traded company with one class of stock. That means the public controls Tesla, and I think that’s actually a So if I go crazy, you can fire me — that’s important. Maybe I’m not crazy.”

Elon Musk previously co-founded (and later left) an artificial intelligence company called OpenAI. In 2015, OpenAI boasted that it had trained neural networks to enable a human-like robot hand to solve a Rubik’s Cube puzzle.

Back when Musk first introduced the Tesla Bot concept at AI Day 2021, he said, “It should be able to, ‘please go to the store and bring me the following groceries,’ something like that.” Later, Musk said that the robots Tesla builds could one day be worth more than its cars, and that thousands of them would work in Tesla factories, where people make cars and batteries.

During Friday’s presentation, Tesla employees showed how the humanoid robot they are developing could work in the future, including Tesla-designed actuators that are like the robot’s muscles and adaptive robotic arms that will allow for the robot to grasp and manipulate a wide range of objects.

Milan Kovac, who is Director of Engineering for Autopilot at Tesla according to his LinkedIn profile, said the company’s experiences developing driver assistance systems for Tesla vehicles, particularly computer vision systems, helped the company understand how to makes a humanoid robot work in the real world.

While robotics experts said Tesla doesn’t require a bipedal robot to better automate its factories, Tesla employees spoke at length Friday about their commitment to the human form. The workers also said they were working on a special battery and actuators for their robots to keep power consumption to a minimum so their robot could run for a full day on a single charge.

Tesla Autopilot employees also talked at length about their effort to make Tesla cars autonomous without adding new hardware.

In the past, the company’s Autopilot team relied on manual data annotation to locate and describe objects in short video clips captured by cameras and sensors in Tesla vehicles. The data tags would detect things like road boundaries, lane markings or overlapping objects, such as a pedestrian blocking the full view of a stop sign.

The tagged clips are used to train Tesla’s neural networks and improve driver assistance systems that allow their cars to navigate, automatically avoiding obstacles, with driver supervision.

Now, Tesla says they’ve developed auto-tagging technology that allows the company to chew through half a million clips every day. At the end, a human comes in to “finalize” the labels, but they get a boost from the automatic labeling system.

The presenters also discussed, in great detail, how many improvements they made to the chips and data infrastructure designed by Tesla. They did not say when a self-driving car that is safe to use without a human driver behind the wheel in normal traffic will be available to paying customers.

Tesla is showing off a prototype of its humanoid robot at AI Day 2022 on September 30.


Musk explained that Tesla held this AI Day event and was showcasing its prototype robot, “to get some of the most talented people in the world, like you, to join Tesla and help make it a reality.”

The CEO believes the humanoid robot “can help millions of people,” he said, because if it works, the world will have what he called “a future of abundance, a future where there is no poverty, where you can have people no matter what If you are. you want in terms of products and services’.

Signing off in grand fashion, Musk said: “It’s really a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it.”

After the CEO had left the stage, but while the AI ​​Day presentation was still underway, Musk tweeted to his 107.4 million followers, “Of course there will be a gorilla version of our Optimus robot.”

During a question-and-answer session, Musk admitted that developing a humanoid robot wasn’t exactly in line with Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. He said Optimus extends Tesla’s mission to “make the future awesome.”

An attendee asked Musk if Tesla envisioned selling its Dojo supercomputer, which it uses for artificial intelligence machine learning, to other companies. Musk said he thinks it makes more sense to offer a Dojo service, something like AWS, which he described as “a service you can use that’s available online where you can train your models much faster and for less money.” .

Big promises

When Musk makes big promises, skeptics scoff and his loyal fans swoon.

The famous CEO has been promising self-driving electric vehicles since 2016 and has raised billions in capital for Tesla by promising shareholders that Tesla’s self-driving technology would allow customers to turn their cars into robot taxis with a software update.

While Musk has said that a coast-to-coast driverless demonstration will happen by the end of 2017, to date Tesla has only released driver assistance systems that must be continuously supervised by a human driver.

Tesla’s driver assistance systems, which are marketed as Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, FSD (short for Full Self-Driving Capability) and FSD Beta in the US, have drawn federal and state safety investigations, as well as allegations of false advertising, including from the California DMV and some of its own customers.

Tesla also has a difficult record with automation in its factories. In 2018, after trying to automate various aspects of vehicle production and quality assurance, Musk admitted that “too much automation at Tesla was a mistake” and “people are undervalued.”

Tesla is expected to release its third-quarter vehicle production and deliveries report within days of the hiring event. Deliveries are the closest approximation to sales that Tesla discloses, and quarterly delivery reports are closely watched by shareholders.

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