Tesla’s long-hyped humanoid robot has finally been revealed to the public on their annual AI Day, and as many were expecting, it doesn’t really do much at the moment. In fact, it mostly just stood there.
The robot, aptly named Optimus (a reference to the “Transformers” Optimus Prime), is a piece of technology that Musk wants people to be able to acquire affordably to help with their chores, such as dishes, cleaning, mowing the lawn, etc.
By “affordable”, it’s expected that a robot like this would cost as much as a small car (up to 20k).
As of right now, however, the robot isn’t capable of doing any of these things, just like it wasn’t during its previous iterations. One Behind The Scenes video does show the robot reaching for a pitcher of water – which is meant to display the way the AI is able to recognize and pick up real world objects without having to be programmed to do so. But obviously, that was a controlled example.
And Musk insists that the robot will be fully operational and ready to be manufactured on a larger scale “soon”, but this most recent presentation didn’t get anyone’s hopes up. For one, the robot wasn’t able to walk on its own (a promised feature) and wasn’t shown doing much of anything on stage, only in pre-recorded videos.
To be fair, the technology behind it does seem quite impressive, at least when it comes to performing repetitive manual labor – something that has already been achieved, but these robots should allegedly be able to adapt to any labor “intelligently” without the need to be programmed manually (or at least not to a major extent).
The robot is also very articulated and not very heavy (about 73kg in mass), which is impressive and goes in line with their intentions of making it widely available for homeowners.
However, when it comes to the promises of Optimus being able to help with household chores, that seems very uncertain in the near future, at least from what they showed. If the development is further ahead than it seems, the presentation did not come across as such.
Musk even said that the robot would be able to walk in “a few weeks” but that should be taken with a grain of salt. During the showcase the robot had to be pushed on stage by three people and the only movement it seemed to perform by itself was a slow and half-hearted wave to the audience.
Of course, we don’t know the full context behind the scenes, but based on the presentation alone the robot seems to be a few years in the making still – at least when it comes to its release for public purchase.
But it’s not like many are waiting in anticipation at the moment. The idea of having an autonomous robot in your home doing chores is eerie at best, saved for the most hardcore tech enthusiasts that could afford such advanced technology in the first place. Most people wouldn’t trust an autonomous robot to be left alone with their family – not that they would even be capable of causing harm, but simply because of how the media has depicted autonomous AI for many years.
It will take some warming up to the idea for sure, but if this demo is anything to go by, we still have quite a few years to think about it.