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Tesla reveals an untethered Optimus on AI Day



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Image source: La Ronge Northerner

On Friday, Tesla unveiled the future product of the company: a prototype of a humanoid robot that was capable of walking.

The unveiling happened on Tesla’s second annual AI Day in Palo Alto, California.

During the six-hour event, Elon Musk and the company shared updates on its artificial intelligence, “Full Self-Driving,” the Tesla supercomputer “Dojo,” and the humanoid robot.

The robot

Given the name Optimus by Tesla, the robot walked stiffly on stage during the event.

Meeting the crowd, Optimus slowly waved at the crowd and gestured with its hands for over a minute.

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, that night marked the first time Optimus operated without a tether.

Robotics developers use tethers to support robots, especially since the early stages are when they are incapable of walking without falling and damaging themselves.

Comparing Optimus to other robots

Despite the impressive display, Optimus’ abilities show that it is still a couple of steps back from what the robots are able to do from Huwandai-owned Boston Dynamics.

Boston Dynamics have developed robots that are capable of moving around without a tether.

Apart from Boston Dynamics, Honda has also been developing robots called “Asimo” for almost two decades.

In its final form, Asimo was a child-sized humanoid robot.

Asimo is capable of walking, running, climbing, walking down stairs, and working objects with its fingers – all while untethered.

Video clips showed they can do backflips and even perform complex dance routines.

However, Musk maintains that Optimus can do so much more.

“The robot can actually do a lot more than we just showed you,” he said.

“We just didn’t want it to fall on its face.”

Tesla showcased videos of Optimus performing various tasks like watering plants with a water can and lifting boxes.

Early robot development

Elon Musk claims the robot could be transformative for civilization.

Despite its limitations displayed last Friday compared to competitors, the robot was significantly ahead of what Tesla revealed in 2021.

At the time, a person in a robot suit took to the stage and danced around.

“Last year was just a person in a robot suit,” Musk said before introducing Optimus.

“We’ve come a long way. Compared to that, it’s going to be very impressive.”

Mass production

According to Elon Musk, if the robot was mass produced, it would “probably” be sold for less than $20,000.

Tesla said that Optimus holds an advantage over competitors.

Among its abilities are independent navigation with Tesla’s driver-assistance system “Full Self Driving.”

However, Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” feature will require a human to take over control in case of emergencies as it is incapable of fully driving itself.

The humanoid robots also cut costs with what it learned about manufacturing from the automotive division.

Tesla price targets

Throughout its operations, Tesla has had a history of aggressive price targets that the company often doesn’t reach.

Initially, the Tesla Model 3 was promised to be priced at $35,000.

While prospective buyers could briefly acquire the vehicle for the promised price, they could only do so at Tesla stores.

Today, the most affordable Tesla Model 3 costs $46,990.

In 2019, when Tesla revealed the Cybertruck, the price was initially $39,990.

However, the price has been removed from the website and the truck remains unavailable for purchase.