Tesla unveils a first version of its humanoid robot Optimus

Pour l'instant, Optimus arrive à se déplacer lentement, sans tomber, et à faire des signes de la main.

Posted Oct 1, 2022, 8:00 AMUpdated Oct 1, 2022, 8:01 a.m.

Tesla has its first robot prototype. Tesla’s AI Day event opened Friday night with a robotic hand making a V to symbolize victory. Last year, Elon Musk announced the launch of this program with a human disguised as a robot who had sketched a few dance steps.

This year, Tesla teams presented a first version of this robot. Eventually, the latter should be able to work in factories, prepare dinner, mow the lawn, even offer sexual services, according to Elon Musk. For now, Optimus manages to move slowly, without falling, and to wave his hand.

Elon Musk and his engineers also unveiled a video of a second version of the robot, which looks smoother (the first is covered with exposed cables). This one, more sophisticated, would be able to water flowers, move parcels or a metal bar in a Tesla factory, according to the video.

Tesla is hiring

The real test for these robots will be to demonstrate their ability to react to unexpected events, Nancy Cook, a professor at Arizona State University, told Reuters. A walking or dancing robot “isn’t very impressive” because “it’s been done before,” she said.

The idea behind this event is to show the extent of innovations at Tesla, in order to recruit more engineers. “We want to convince some of the most gifted people in the world to come join us at Tesla and help us make this robot a reality,” pleaded Elon Musk.

To arouse the enthusiasm of engineers, the boss of Tesla did not hesitate to depict an idyllic future, in which robots will perform painful or dangerous tasks. In this “future of abundance”, there will be no more poverty, imagines the billionaire.

Affordable price

Tesla is a relative newcomer to the robotics industry. Other companies, including Boston Dynamics, have been working on two-legged robots for more than a decade. But even Atlas, the bipedal robot of the latter, is for the moment only a prototype.

In Elon Musk’s vision, Optimus would be available at an affordable price. The CEO mentioned Friday evening a price of 20,000 dollars. It will be an “extremely capable robot”, which will be “produced in large quantities” and “will cost less than a car”, he said.

Elon Musk is used to announcing extraordinary projects, but not all of them come true every time. Over the years, he’s announced things like chargers that look like robot snakes, city-to-city rocket travel, and self-driving cars that can be flown in from across the country. . However, robotics seems to be particularly close to his heart.

Autonomous driving and supercomputers

The group’s engineers also presented their latest efforts to improve the driver assistance system of Tesla vehicles. According to the CEO, the latter is now used by 160,000 people in the United States and Canada, instead of 2,000 last year (it is not authorized in Europe).

Tesla’s driver assistance system is dubbed “completely autonomous driving,” a misleading name, experts say. The automaker’s software can actually help the driver identify obstacles and even brake, but it requires active monitoring of the person behind the wheel.

For its driving assistance software, Tesla has made a choice opposite to that of its competitors: it relies on the car’s ability to recognize its environment, instead of circulating vehicles in order to draw up an extremely precise map of surroundings.

This choice requires training software on huge masses of data. This explains Tesla’s choice to develop “supercomputers” with unparalleled power. The engineers of the Texan group have extensively developed the technical choices behind these computers.

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