Competitors’ Bots Outshine Musk’s Own at Tesla A.I. Day


Elon Musk kicked off Tesla’s second annual AI Day by bringing out two humanoid robots, prototypes of its “Optimus” bot that the company will aim to mass manufacture in 3-5 years.

First, a barebones experimental test robot took a few steps; then, a model that Musk said would be “fairly close” to what will go into production slowly waved as several employees futzed with its base and body. On stage, Musk predicted that the company will make millions of Optimus bots and sell them at under $20,000 a pop.

“It wasn’t quite ready to walk, but it, I think, will walk in a few weeks,” Musk said. “Our goal is to make a useful humanoid robot as quickly as possible.”

A worthy aspiration, except it already exists.

According to Reuters, Toyota and Honda have both developed humanoid robots that perform complicated actions like shooting a basketball, and Hyundai-owned Boston Dynamics makes a humanoid robot that can even do backflips and parkour. Musk argued that Optimus’ price point and reliance on the technology that powers Tesla vehicles’ driver’s assistance system will give it a boost over these existing models.

Still, it’s a better showcase of Tesla’s robot-building capacities than last year’s A.I. Day, in which the project was unveiled alongside a person dressed as a robot dancing to EDM. “The Tesla Bot will be real,” Musk said at the time.

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