Tesla is set to introduce its prime 'Optimus' robot
Elon Musk is getting ready to unveil his 'Optimus' humanoid robot, and an improved smart summon feature as a top priority in the run-up to Tesla's AI Day 2 on September 30.
Both projects, according to the tech mogul, have a deadline at the end of the month.
"Autopilot/AI team is also working on Optimus and (actually smart) summon/autopark, which have end of month deadlines," Musk wrote while responding to a Tesla fan club account on Twitter.
Musk's Texas-based company is reportedly considering ambitious plans to use thousands of humanoid robots within its factories before eventually extending to millions globally, per a job posting.
According to Musk, who is now promoting a vision for the company that extends far beyond producing self-driving electric cars, the robot industry may eventually be worth more than Tesla's automobile income.
A source familiar with the situation claimed that as Tesla holds more internal discussions on robotics, the buzz is growing within the organization.
What do we know about Optimus so far?
Optimus was first designed to replace humans who perform monotonous or hazardous tasks.
Earlier, in 2021, during the robot's inaugural event, Musk said that Optimus is built using the same sensors and chipsets as Tesla's self-driving automobiles. It stands five feet eight inches tall and features a screen with relevant information on where the head should be.
Slides presented by Tesla at the event indicated that the robot's head would house Autopilot cameras. It weighs 125 pounds, can lift 150 pounds, and can carry 45 pounds. According to Musk, it can go five miles per hour.
Musk claimed that although Tesla is building many of the computers required for robotics, the robot was not designed to assist Tesla's manufacturing.
However, critics are skeptical about such developments.
'Robots to dance' has already been done
The ability of Tesla to demonstrate technological advancements that would justify the cost of "general purpose" robots in factories, homes, and other locations is questioned, according to robotic pundits.
The Boston Dynamics division of Honda Motor and Hyundai Motor has been working on humanoid robots for many years. Similar to self-driving automobiles, robots struggle with unforeseen circumstances.
"Self-driving cars weren't really proved to be as easy as anyone thought. And it's the same way with humanoid robots to some extent," said the lead of NASA's Dexterous Robotics Team, Shaun Azimi.
"If something unexpected happens, being flexible and robust to those kinds of changes is very difficult."
Earlier, Musk had pledged to deploy 1 million robotaxis by 2020 during an "Autonomy" presentation in 2019 but has yet to do so.
Although experts say it would be difficult for Musk's robots to live up to popular expectations of machines that are equally capable as humans, they may be able to exhibit some fundamental capabilities during events.
Tesla already uses hundreds of robots tailored to manufacture its cars for particular tasks.
For Tesla to be successful, it will have to display robots performing various spontaneous acts. Such evidence might help Tesla stock, which is currently down 25 percent from its 2021 peak, according to Nancy Cooke, a professor of human systems engineering at Arizona State University.
But, "if he just gets the robot to walk around, or he gets the robots to dance, that's already been done. That's not that impressive," she said.
While Tesla has not made any public statements answering the critics so far, Musk has in the past defied critics by successfully launching the electric vehicle market and founding the rocket company SpaceX, despite certain product releases being delayed.
Many people criticize the usage of AI in art for so many reasons. These tools need to be explored, understood, and debated in an unbiased way.