Tesla’s AI Day 2022 is underway and the event kicked off with the unveiling of not one, but two Teslabot prototypes.
The first, is constructed of 3rd party parts and for the first time, walked on stage without a tether. It then proceeded to move around the stage and wave to the audience.
As impressive as it is to have a working, walking humanoid robot in just over a year, it did look fairly rudimentary with exposed wires.
The audience was shown a short clip of the robot moving around the Gigafactory (with a tether), and was able to lift objects in the factory. We also see some of the vision from TeslaBot and the first aspect
Following quickly after this Musk unveiled another, improved version of the TeslaBot. This one isn’t quite walking on its own but is much closer to the desired form factor with the exterior. Musk says this one is developed using Tesla-developed components. The difference between the two is substantial and is expected to be walking on its own in a few weeks.
Elon Musk explained that the societal benefit of TeslaBot can only be realised if they mass produce them and expect them to eventually ost less than US$20,000.
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The robot was skeletally clad, with wiring and hardware visible, and lumbered onstage as it waved hello. A subsequent generation of the cyborg was also shown, supported by three people onstage.
The robots are here. And they want to make you fries.
Musk said he wants the robot to be manufactured at scale, sold for less than $20,000, and encompass core physical capabilities, such as the ability to move all fingers independently, and opposable thumbs with degrees of freedom so it can operate tools.
“This means a future of abundance,” he said. “A future where there is no poverty. Where people … You can have whatever you want in terms of products and services.”
“It really is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it,” he said.
Tesla said its latest generation of the robot runs on a Tesla computer chip, with WiFi and LTE (long-term evolution) capabilities similar to a cellphone, along with audio and cybersecurity features. The company said it runs on a 2.3 kilowatt-hour battery pack, much less capacity than would be needed for an electric vehicle. The company said the robot’s hands have 11 degrees of freedom, an apparent reference to the directions in which they can move.
The company said it designed the robot with the same mass production targets in mind as when it would design a car, so the robot can be built as quickly as possible at scale. Tesla has said it could draw on the robot to perform tasks in its factories, which employ thousands of manufacturing workers.
Investors and financial analysts have expressed skepticism that Tesla will ultimately be able to build the robot, advising instead to focus on projects closer to Tesla’s core business of electric cars.
The demo Friday demonstrates how Musk wants to solve one of the toughest problems in robotics and artificial intelligence: how to make a machine that can replace a human.
For years, companies including Amazon and Google have worked to create robots that are able to move and — in a feat that is deceptively challenging — pick up or work on items with mechanized claws or hands.