When Tesla first announced plans to launch a humanoid robot nicknamed “Optimus” at the Tesla AI Day in August 2021, many didn’t take it seriously.
After all, the presentation started with an actual human being pretending to be a humanoid robot and making robot moves and dance routines. Awkward debut aside, the Tesla Bot – also known as Optimus – has made significant progress since then, as showcased in a short video released by the company yesterday at the annual shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas.
Titled “Tesla Bot Update,” the video shows five actual humanoid robots performing tasks like walking slowly together, discovering new environments and memorizing them, picking up things and dropping them off, and more.
The footage also reveals that the AI powering the robots is trained via human demonstrations to perform various mundane tasks. One such example shown in the video is a Tesla Bot picking up objects from one tray and putting them in a second container.
The Tesla Bots now appear to have a production-ready chassis and their walk is much improved – albeit still slow – compared to the stumbles we’ve seen in the previous demo at AI Day last year.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed the team just put the video together the night before, which is impressive if true. Musk again highlighted the huge potential the robot has for the company, noting that the “Optimus stuff is extremely underrated.”
He said that demand for the Tesla Bot could be as high as 10 to 20 billion units – that would be more than double the Earth’s entire human population.
While that’s likely an overly enthusiastic estimate from Musk, he said he is confident that it would not be surprising if Tesla’s business in the future is built on the back of its humanoid robot. “Tesla’s long-term value, a majority of its value will be Optimus. And that prediction I’m confident of,” Musk said, adding that the robot will far outnumber Tesla’s global vehicle fleet.
He reiterated the fact that Optimus will use the same Full Self-Driving software as the company’s electric vehicles.
During the Q&A session, one investor asked if Optimus would be deployed on Mars. Musk replied that Tesla’s robot is not that deep of a thinker right now, with the company focusing on safety for the humanoid robot at the moment.