Tesla’s Optimus Humanoid Robot’s Progress Revealed

Elon Musk shared an update on the robot’s progress at the company’s annual shareholder day

Graham Hope

May 18, 2023

2 Min Read

While CEO Elon Musk is generally the center of attention at Tesla’s annual shareholder day, he had serious competition this year.

Because a new video presented at the event, which the company now bills as its “Cyber Roundup,” showed that its eagerly awaited robot, Tesla Bot (also known as Optimus) has made some significant progress.

And the online response has largely been much more positive than was the case after its appearance at Tesla’s 2022 AI Day eight months ago.

On that occasion, the excitement of a sighting of the robot Musk claims could sell by the billion and facilitate a “fundamental transformation for civilization” was diluted by the apparently limited functionality, with Optimus unable to walk unaided.

In the intervening period, it’s clear a lot of development work has gone on, backing up Musk’s earlier assertions that Optimus is very much a priority product for Tesla.

The video, entitled simply “Tesla Bot Update” showcased the progress, depicting a small squad of five robots walking rather gingerly, amid an office environment and a backdrop of Cybertrucks, and performing several tasks. Among the areas highlighted by Tesla were motor torque control and the ability to discover and memorize new environments.

The 65-second clip also depicted how artificial intelligence is trained by tracking human movements, with a Tesla staff member seen picking up objects from a container and placing them in another, and then the Bot is shown doing exactly the same thing.

Related:Tesla Reveals Optimus Robot at AI Day

The company has long said that it is in a strong position to develop a human Bot by leveraging some of the hardware and software that has been used to create its electric cars, which come with a degree of automated functionality. As with many of Tesla’s claims, many observers have struggled to separate the reality from the hyperbole, but this latest video suggests it is heading in the right direction. 

In typical fashion, Musk remained bullish about Optimus’s prospects, predicting demand could ultimately reach as much as 20 billion units, and stating: “As full self-driving gets closer and closer to generalized real-world AI, that same software is transferrable to a humanoid robot. My prediction is that the majority of Tesla’s long-term value will be Optimus. And I am very confident in that prediction.”

As other updates at the Cyber Roundup demonstrated, however, Tesla often has difficulty in delivering a much hyped product on schedule. Musk announced that the long-delayed Cybertruck is finally set for first deliveries later in 2023 and suggested ultimately as many as 500,000 a year could be made, while also hinting that the Roadster – originally mooted for 2020 – would “hopefully” start production in 2024, but tellingly added: “This is not a commitment.”

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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