Electric vehicle maker Tesla has shared a video of its updated AI humanoid bot Optimus in action, showing improvements since it was last showcased at the AI Day in 2022.
Last year at the AI event, Tesla showed off two humanoid robot prototypes that were part of the company’s Optimus program built with off-the-shelf parts. One robot was already mobile and walking on its own while the other still required some human assistance.
But a recent video showcased by Tesla during the 2023 Cyber Roundup shows the Optimus program has made a number of strides since the AI Day last September.
Tesla boss Elon Musk presented a video at the shareholder meeting on Tuesday, which demonstrated the progress of the humanoid bot project.
A Tesla Optimus video on Twitter shows a number of bots moving around the Tesla factory with some Cybertrucks in the background. In other scenes of the video, the Tesla bot seems to pick up objects with ease.
The video showcases a much better performance of the robot compared to the first time the public saw it. Around that time, the robot needed support from humans to hold it in place. Now, the Tesla bot walks by itself and has the ability to recognize its surroundings.
Multiple fully Tesla-made Bots now walking around & learning about the real world 🤖
— Tesla Optimus (@Tesla_Optimus) May 16, 2023
Eventually, the company hopes the humanoid bot can accomplish “increasingly complex tasks,” hinting at a potential ability to sort objects into boxes – likely a helpful skill in a factory production line.
In the video, the faceless bots give off uncanny valley vibes as they traverse the office at Tesla in an intimidating pack, suggesting major improvements from last year’s showcase.
One aspect worth mentioning is the robot’s hand movements, which appear to be more accurate and controlled. Musk also highlighted the improvement of Optimus during his presentation.
“I think the most notable difference is, if you look at the last time we showed Optimus and this video that was taken basically yesterday – the Optimus team was up all night making this video – the Optimus team has done an incredible job,” said Musk.
In another scene of the video, a person wearing some kind of high-tech motion suit demonstrates actions which are replicated by a 3D model of the Tesla bot. This could be one of the training methods, and the actions demonstrated by the robots show a greater improvement in the development process as compared to the previous showcase.
In March, YouTuber Herbert hinted that Tesla was already, or in the process of, implementing the use of the bots in their car factories. He also mentioned that by the end of the year, there might be some 500 AI bots fully functional.
Tesla, for its part, has not given a clear timeline on production.
Last year Elon Musk hinted that demand for the AI bot could be as high as 20 billion units, and that the bot will account for a majority of Tesla’s long-term value.
Musk stated that the bot could tap into a market that could never be reached by electric cars. Although the program might be currently underrated according to Simon Alvarez, Optimus could propel Tesla into the future.
“If you have a generalized humanoid robot, what would be the effective ratio of humanoid robots to humans? I think basically everyone would want one. And maybe people would want more than one, which means the actual demand for something like Optimus, if it really works – which it will – could be 10 billion units. It’s some crazy number,” said Musk.
“It might be 20 billion units, if the ratio is two to one. It’s a very big number, a number that’s vastly accessible by the number of cars. So my prediction is that Tesla’s long-term value, the majority of long-term value, will be Optimus. And I am very confident in that prediction.”
So, we might soon see robots working in Tesla’s factories or packaged for sale to ordinary consumers. One thing’s for sure, progress is being made.