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Elon Musk presents robot prototype "Optimus": It waves and wobbles

2022-10-01T07:24:43.429Z

After the full-bodied announcement last year, Elon Musk actually presented two prototypes of a robot that he wants to have produced in the millions. But the road to get there might still be a long one.



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Elon and Optimus: The tech billionaire presented a robot that should revolutionize the life of mankind

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- / AFP

Tesla boss Elon Musk has demonstrated the prototype of a humanoid robot, which he believes could eventually become more important than the company's electric cars.

The machine, with uncovered mechanical joints and cables, took a few unsteady steps on a stage at an event on Saturday night and waved to the audience.

Musk said Tesla is targeting a price of $20,000 for the robot, dubbed Optimus.

The "Optimus" prototype moved much more awkwardly than the better-known humanoid robots from Boston Dynamics, which can run, dance and jump.

However, Musk sees an advantage for the Tesla robot in the fact that it can use the technology of the driver assistance system "Autopilot" to recognize its surroundings, which the company's cars use.

Videos showed how the 73-kilogram robot carries a box, waters flowers with a watering can and moves a metal component in Tesla's car factory.

The group wants to develop a useful robot that can be built as quickly as possible, Musk said.

One of the developers spoke of the prospect that the machines could not only be produced in thousands but also in millions.

Musk was convinced that robots could provide "a future with plenty, a future without poverty".

In the past, the tech billionaire had already predicted that the robot project could become more important than Tesla's car production over time.

At the "Optimus" announcement a year ago, Tesla put a human in a robot costume, which caused some ridicule at the time.

This time, a newer metal-clad prototype was carried onto the stage by Tesla employees because it can't walk on its own yet.

The pioneer Boston Dynamics, which in the meantime was part of Google, now also belongs to a car manufacturer: the South Korean Hyundai group.

Tesla also used the event to explain the technology behind Autopilot and its machine learning programs.

A special focus was on how well the cars can recognize and understand their surroundings with the help of their eight cameras.

Musk says he's confident Tesla can handle autonomous driving with cameras alone, without the more expensive laser radars other robotic car tech developers are counting on.

160,000 Tesla customers in the USA are currently driving with a test version of the assistance software, which is intended to control the cars in city traffic, among other things, instead of just keeping them in lane and keeping their distance.

The software often made a bad impression in videos from beta testers.

Musk said that Tesla should be ready, at least technically, to introduce the test software in other countries by the end of the year.

However, local regulatory requirements could delay the launch outside of the US.

kae/dpa

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-10-01

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