Elon Musk shows off a humanoid robot prototype at Tesla AI Day

Tesla displays an early prototype of the humanoid Optimus robot at Artificial Intelligence Day 2022 on September 30


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

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

This year, Musk and Tesla employees who joined him on stage demonstrated a bipedal humanoid robot, which they said was just a “rough robot” that walked and waved its hand in the air. They said the robot was roaming for the first time without any mechanical supports on stage in Palo Alto.

In order to warm up the public, including Tesla-focused social media influencers, Musk said, We’ll talk about advances in AI for fully autonomous driving, as well as how they can be applied in general to real-world AI problems like robots and even beyond. I think there is some possibility that what we do here at Tesla can make a meaningful contribution to AGI [artificial general intelligence]. “

He continued, “I actually think Tesla is a good entity to do that, from a governance standpoint, because we’re a publicly traded company with one class of stock. That means Tesla is controlled by the public, and I think that’s actually a good thing. So if you go crazy, you can Kick me out – that’s important. Maybe I’m not crazy.”

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

When Musk originally brought up the concept of a Tesla Bot at AI Day 2021, he said, “It should be able to, ‘Please go to the store and get me the next groceries,’ that sort of thing.” Later, Musk said Tesla’s robots could one day be more valuable than its cars, and that thousands of them would be run in Tesla’s factories, where humans make cars and batteries.

During Friday’s presentation, Tesla employees showed how their future robots might operate, including Tesla-designed actuators, which resemble a robot’s muscle, and adaptive robotic hands that will allow the robot to grab and manipulate a wide range of objects.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Milan Kovac, director of engineering for Tesla’s autopilot, said the company’s experiences in developing driver assistance systems for Tesla vehicles, particularly computer vision systems, were helping the company figure out how to make robots work. in the real world.

While robotics experts said Tesla doesn’t need a bipedal robot in order to improve the automation of work in its factories, Tesla employees spoke at length Friday about their dedication to the human form. The employees also said they were working on a special battery and actuators for their robots to minimize power consumption so that their robot could run for an entire day on a single charge.

Tesla Autopilot employees have also talked extensively about their quest to make Tesla cars self-driving without adding any new hardware to them.

In the past, the company’s autopilot team relied on manual data annotation to identify and describe objects in short videos captured by cameras and sensors in Tesla cars. Data compilers can identify things such as road boundaries, lane markings, or interfering objects such as pedestrians that obstruct the full view of a stop sign.

The classified clips train Tesla’s neural networks, improve driver assistance systems that enable their cars to navigate, and avoid obstacles automatically, with driver supervision.

Now, Tesla says they have developed automatic label technology that allows the company to chew half a million clips each day. Eventually the human comes to ‘finalize’ the labels but they have a boost from the automatic label system.

The presenters also discussed, in great detail, the number of improvements they made to the chips and data infrastructure designed by Tesla. They haven’t said when a self-driving car that is safe for use without a human driver behind the wheel in normal traffic will be available to paying customers.

Tesla displays a prototype of its humanoid robot at Artificial Intelligence Day 2022 on September 30.


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

The CEO believes that robots “could help millions of people,” he said, because if successful, the world would have what he called “a future of plenty, a future where there is no poverty, where people can have everything you want in terms of products and services.” “.

“It really is a radical transformation of civilization as we know it,” Musk said in his grandiose manner.

After the CEO left the platform but while the AI ​​Day demo was still underway, Musk wrote to his 107.4 million Twitter followers, “Of course, there will be a Cateril version of our Optimus robot.”

During a question-and-answer session, Musk admitted that developing a humanoid robot is not neatly aligned with Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. He said Optimus is expanding Tesla’s mission to “make the future great”.

He said he believes that within 3-5 years, customers will be able to purchase Optimus.

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

big promises

When Musk makes big promises, skeptics laugh and his loyal fans explode.

A popular CEO of self-driving electric vehicles since 2016, he has raised billions in capital for Tesla by promising shareholders that Tesla’s autonomous vehicle technology will enable customers to turn their cars into working robots with just a software update.

While Musk has said a driverless coast-to-coast demo will happen by the end of 2017, Tesla has to date only released driver assistance systems that must constantly be 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 up federal and state safety investigations, and allegations of false advertising including from by California DMV and a number of its clients.

Tesla also has a rocky track 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 “humans are being underestimated”.

Tesla is expected to release its third-quarter auto production and delivery report within days of the hiring event. The deliveries are the closest approximation of sales that Tesla has revealed and the quarterly delivery reports are closely monitored by shareholders.

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