On Friday, September 30th, Elon Musk and his team of engineers unveiled the Tesla Bot named Optimus to the entire world. Out of more than 3 hours long live stream, Tesla Bot was described in-depth for more than 40 mins alone besides Full Self-Driving (FSD) and Dojo.
Like always, Elon Musk delivered the opening remarks and explained to the audience the ‘why’ of the Tesla Bot. “I think there is some potential that what we are doing here at Tesla could make a meaningful contribution to AGI (Artificial general intelligence),” said Musk.
How will Tesla achieve some level of AGI with the Tesla Bot? By mass-producing them. Musk said that Tesla will probably make millions of these robots when they hit production. Most interestingly, an Optimus bot will likely cost $20,000 a unit or even less, Elon Musk suggested.
- Optimus: Biologically Inspired Design
- Tesla Bot technical specifications
- Optimus utilizes Tesla Vision AI
- Optimus is a high-volume & low-cost robot
At AI Day 2021, a human was put inside a robot costume just to show the world a concept design of the outer shell of Tesla’s humanoid robot.
However, this year, Tesla has shown two iterations of the Tesla Bot — a development prototype Bumble C and an Optimus prototype that is close to what a production version will look like (see slide 1.1 below).
The development platform Bumble C robot was still in a raw condition, the inside of its metal body parts were showing and all the wires were roughly attached to the components.
The latest generation Optimus Tesla Bot was brought out to the presentation stage with the support of humans as it was still not able to walk on its own legs. An ability that it will gain in the coming few weeks.
According to Elon Musk, the purpose of unveiling the incomplete Optimus was to show a robot that is fairly close to production. This sets the expectations of potential Optimus customers on its looks.
The basic difference between both of these Tesla robots is that Bumble C is developed using semi-off-the-shelf actuators while Optimus utilizes actuators, the battery pack, and control systems that Tesla has designed in-house.
Biologically Inspired Design
Tesla Bot mechanical engineer Lizy explained how the project team has taken the human biology given to them by nature as an inspiration. For example, the hand of Optimus is designed as much like a human hand as possible (slide 1.2 below).
Both hands of Optimus Tesla Bot have close-able thumbs and 27 various degrees of freedom to use these hands. Optimus is expected to operate tools and lift objects with these hands to help humans in repetitive everyday tasks at home, offices, and even at manufacturing facilities.
The following specs of the Tesla Optimus robot were revealed at the AI Day 2022 event (also check slide 1.3 above and slide 1.4 below).
Brisk Walking: 500W
|73 kg (~161 lbs)
|Almost the same as Elon Musk 6 feet 1.5 inches (around 187cm)
|No. of actuators
|28 structural actuators
|Degrees of freedom
|Full Body: 200+
|Battery pack capacity/current
|2.3 kWh / 52V Nominal
|1x Tesla SOC (Supercomputer)
|Audio capability, safety & security features
The front portion of the Tesla Bot’s torso consists of a 2.3 kWh battery which according to Tesla is enough for a whole day’s work. All of the battery electronics, sensors, fuses, battery management system (BMS), and power distribution systems are integrated and placed in a single pack.
The head of Optimus is not where its brain is located. Tesla Full Self-Driving Supercomputer chip and its related electronics are also placed in the torso area of the robot behind the battery pack.
The torso area of Optimus is the heart and brain of this robot. Besides the battery pack and central computer, it houses wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi & LTE), Audio, and hardware & software-level safety and security systems that protect both the bot and humans around it.
Optimus utilizes Tesla Vision AI to navigate the world
“We’ve seen impressive humanoid robot demonstrations, that’s great but what are they missing?, they are missing a brain, they don’t have the intelligence to navigate the world by themselves,” Elon Musk said during his Tesla Bot presentation.
Tesla has retrained its Autopilot Neural Net to integrate Tesla Bot into it. This is how Optimus is able to utilize Tesla Vision, which is currently used by millions of Tesla electric vehicles around the world for Full Self-Driving (Beta) and even for enhancing safety features.
Just like Tesla cars identify objects in their surroundings, Tesla Bot leverages the same technology and existing Neural Net resources to create a vision of the world around it.
Optimus is a high-volume, low-cost robot
Elon Musk’s ultimate vision for Optimus is to produce it at a large scale and offer it at a cost far less than the humanoid robots available today. He even predicted the ballpark price of a Tesla Bot to be around $20,000.
“Optimus is designed to be an extremely capable robot but made in very high volume, probably ultimately millions of units — and it’s expected to cost much lower than a car,” Musk said during the presentation.
Musk further pressed that Tesla is focused on applying the same principles that it started by introducing its mass-production car, the Tesla Model 3 back in 2017. To offer a highly reliable and low-cost robot that’s produced in high volume to reach the masses.
Since Tesla Bot utilizes multiple existing hardware and software resources of the company such as the FSD computer, batteries, battery management software and technology, Tesla Vision, and so on. The cost of its production will be lower than any existing competitor in this domain at this point in time. And the lower cost of production is what businesses are always looking out for.
Elon Musk thinks that we’re living in the most interesting time of history and if he ever wanted to live at any point of history, it would be at the one we are living in right now.
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