The Tesla AI Day 2022 event shocked everyone with a great look at the first Optimus robot prototype. While a glimpse was shown of robotic hands forming a heart shape when the event was announced, the Tesla bot remained completely secret for over a year.
The Optimus Prototype is in humanoid form, as expected, and has roughly the same dimensions as a human. No one really knew what to expect from the Optimus prototype. but it was quite impressive considering the short development time.
The Tesla Bot had the ability to walk around untethered, wave to the public, and even do a little conservative dance. In a video, Tesla showed that the Tesla Bot can already pick up a box and deliver it to a desk where people are sitting. He can identify and pick up other objects, including a metal bar and a watering can used for plants.
Tesla also showed off a more refined version of the Optimus robot with more flexibility and full fingertip control. This model was not yet ready to walk, so he was mounted on a stand, but he moved all his limbs to give a brief glimpse of his abilities. Perhaps the most impressive claim is that the Tesla Bot could be priced under $20,000.
Tesla is an automotive company, and it was only a year ago that Optimus was first announced to deliver a humanoid robot, which is an incredibly complex device. But as Musk has said many times, the robotics program designed for Tesla’s factories already makes it one of the most advanced robotics companies in the world.
The Tesla Bot is one step ahead of navigation since it uses the same vision-based technology as Tesla’s self-driving cars. They showed video of what the AI saw as it drove through an office space full of furniture and people, navigating it like a self-driving car would down a busy street.
Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot is admittedly more advanced, but it’s the result of years of research that saw a progression through dog-like robots before trying a two-legged robot that can dance and even perform. a bit of parkour. However, it is not aimed at the average consumer, unlike Optimus.
Engineers at the presentation went into great detail about capabilities such as joint actuators and the evolution of the Tesla robot’s walking ability – all with a “biologically inspired design.” Particular attention has been paid to the mechanics behind the individual fingers and knees.
Some worried that the Tesla Bot part of the AI Day event was a bluster, but the Optimus prototype demonstrates the work of a serious robotics team. Obviously there’s a long way to go before this becomes a final product – we see a work in progress.
Tesla has shown how much work has been done to make a compact, versatile robot that could one day replace a human, changing the way work is done at Tesla factories — and beyond. From what we can tell at these early stages, there is exciting potential for Optimus as its development continues.