Optimus Robot 1 Walks-in @ Tesla AI Day 2022

In what was expected for a show in Tesla's 'AI Day', Elon Musk unveiled a working prototype of their humanoid robot code-named 'Optimus (early prototype)' on-stage.

"The point of AI Day is to show the immense depth & breadth of Tesla in AI, compute hardware & robotics", quotes Elon Musk.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk kicked off Tesla AI Day 2022 with a quick level set on expectations — “we’ve come a long way” — and then stepped aside to allow the first iteration of its robot walk out onto the stage.

The journey over an year from a human dressed in a robot costume like last year, to a fully functional robot without any external assistance was seen commendable task, even for a company as big as Tesla is. Although with exposed cables and a bit babyish wobbly, the advancement from a concept to a working prototype is a serious effort. According to Musk, mentioned that "it was the first time it was working without any support, cranes, mechanical mechanisms or cables."

At the event, with a brief turn about onstage, the robot left the stage and the rest of the presentation continued. More than a dozen members of the Tesla’s AI and hardware teams showcased several short videos of the robot while development in the Tesla factory in Fremont, California. The videos showed a tethered (to avoid damages from any unexpected fall during the developmental phase) robot that was seen carrying a box, watering a plant and working in a factory environment with a piece of metal, etc., to showcase its versatility. 

Human dressed as a Optimus robot at the first Tesla AI Day, 2021

The aim of the AI Day was to demonstrate the bot with presentations, in which half a dozen employees of Tesla gave a brief run-down of what it felt like a 'robotics 101 course'. The core intention of the event was to show more progress where Tesla is headed in terms of Artificial Intelligence, shore up confidence in its trajectory and help itself to recruit the talent it would need to further pursue it's program to achieve their goals in the AI and Robotics technologies.

the real 'Tesla robot Bumble C' in Action

Elon Musk said that this first-gen prototype which he referred to as 'Bumble C', will evolve into Optimus. The Bumble C prototype was said to be loaded with a 2.3 kilowatt hour battery pack, powered by the same AI computer as in any of their Tesla Car, and capable to carryout for about a full day’s worth of work. They intend to develop this prototype robot to be able to walk efficiently and well balanced, and perform tasks of any full-grown adult like, carrying a 20-pound bag, using tools and yet be gentle enough like real humans. 

They also showed another under-development (a second bot) which could not walk on it's own yet, and was brought out on stage by staff. Elon mentioned that this iteration was being developed using in-house developed actuators and components and its appearance was much more sleeker and finished in an outer. The most interesting part of this event was the similar approach of vision based AI with reference and crossover with Tesla vehicles, like its Autopilot strategy.

Version 2 of their under-development Robot

The Tesla bot is equipped with wireless connectivity, as well as audio support and hardware level security features, to which the company says "is important to protect both the robot and the people around the robot." Musk envisions the price of an Optimus bot should be under $20,000, cheaper than a Tesla Car.

Nearing towards the second-half of the three hour+ stage-show, they also included presentations on the company’s FSD software and Dojo supercomputer (which also uses their own custom hardware) program for developing the complex and large amount of computer vision data to develop and train new model environments for the AI algorithm that goes into the Tesla products. 

Musk said the Tesla bot would start with small incremental tasks, like;

“We’re gonna start Optimus with very simple tests in the factory,” Musk said. “You know, like maybe just loading a part like you saw on the video.”

He later added: “Right now we just want to make basic humanoid work well, and our goal is fastest path to a useful humanoid robot.”

A still from the video snippets of Bumble C carrying box inside the Tesla Development Center

The core idea behind of the humanoid robot is clearly visible here, that is to replace the humans from meager and repetitive tasks that can be better optimized with humanoid robots with little to no change required in the working environments. Having humans and humanoid robots working alongside each other can be extremely useful in certain scenarios, as human body fatigue could either slowdown the process or/and could run into workplace accidents while a humanoid robot could take-over those tasks with little-to-no vain.

As Elon had been heard time and earlier stating that, "Tesla is more of a technological company, than an electric vehicle manufacturer." As he had mentioned that Tesla motors is a sub-set of many of their interests and technological ventures, including SpaceX - although an independent company, but shares common interests and approach.

Full event video:



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