Tesla AI Day 2022: Optimus Unit 1 humanoid robot waves at the audience

There was in-depth engineering rundowns as Musk asks AI experts to join Tesla and help build a better society.
Stephen Vicinanza
Tesla AI Day 2022: Optimus Unit 1 waving at the audience.
Tesla AI Day 2022: Optimus Unit 1 waving at the audience.


Tesla AI Day 2022 explored the processes required to mimic the human, driver and worker. The autonomous robot and car were laid out in detail, from an engineering point of view. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, opened the event, and laid out this event’s main focus, including the public in the Tesla projects, especially Optimus Tesla Bot.

The Optimus project begun in April 2022, with a concept of a fully autonomous humanoid robot, that is mass-produced and inexpensive enough that it is accessible to the average person.

Musk introduced the project lead engineer and her assistants. In just 6 months, the prototype, and the first production unit were built. Tesla bot is a walking, dancing robot, that is already taking care of the plants in the Tesla headquarters offices. The event highlighted the prototype’s autonomous capability. The Prototype was not connected to any external computers, wires, cables or hoses.

The Tesla Bot was following a set of commands, activated by Elon Musk’s voice. In a general conversation to the audience, Musk mentioned that Tesla Bot liked to dance, and the robot broke into a minor beat. This display of self-activation, and decision-making showed how far the team had come in just a few months.

The production unit called Optimus Unit 1 is not fully walking yet, but has even more range of motion, fully dexterous hands, with an actuator lift power of 1000 lbs, as demonstrated when the team ran a video of the actuator lifting a grand piano.

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Elon Musk made a point to say that his plan is to build a robot that is useful, beneficial, safe, and positive in addition to the economy. One of his main points was that Tesla is a public company, openly traded on the open market, and it is owned by the public. If the public did not like a Tesla creation they could purchase stock and vote to stop the project.

It should be mentioned that most large companies require that stockholders use a proxy for their votes. That is where you must own a certain number of shares to have an individual vote on policy matters. Instead, a board member will vote for those shareholders who do not own the required number of shares.

A robot that could be mass-produced

Musk envisioned a robot that could be mass-produced. To that end, there were a number of carefully planned manufacturing steps that Optimus Unit 1 had built into its body. The actuators that made up the joints of Optimus Tesla bot, totaled 27 custom joints, in Optimus Unit 1 there are six, with like abilities and common parts. All throughout Optimus Unit 1 were common parts and systems, that could be mass produced. The engineers have stated that this particular robot, Optimus Unit 1 could cost less than $20,000.

Although it may seem like a lot of money, Optimus actually costs less than any other humanoid robot to date. It cost about 75% less than its closest similar competitor robot.

Because Tesla is seeking to change society with an autonomous robot and autonomous cars, the event went in-depth into the systems behind the autonomous systems that run both the Optimus robot, and the Tesla autopilot.

The engineering portion of the event lasted two hours and covered every portion of Tesla’s autonomous technology. The presentation covered how the autopilot that comes standard in all tesla cars is developed, through decision making, higher order thinking, the proprietary chip and processor units and all the technology that Tesla builds into its cars.

The engineering portion of AI Day 2022 was focused on encouraging external engineers, designers, and developers to seek out Tesla, to help in the development of their autonomous systems.

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