It is the meeting between science fiction and reality.
For moviegoers, it’s almost the fusion between the real world and the imaginary world. Tesla (TSLA) and its whimsical CEO Elon Musk just presented the progress they’ve made on Optimus, the prototype of their humanoid robot first shown in 2021.
“As you know last year [it] was just a person in a robot suit. But we’ve come a long way,” the billionaire said during an event in Palo Alto, California, on September 30.
Optimus made a remarkable appearance on the scene. It walked straight ahead, waved and raised its knees.
“The robot can actually do a lot more than we just showed you,” Musk said. “We just didn’t want it to fall on its face.”
In a projected video, Tesla showed Optimus performing various tasks of daily living, such as carrying packages, watering plants and lifting metal bars.
“So here you’re seeing Optimus with the degrees of freedom that we expect to have in Optimus production unit one, which is the ability to move all the fingers independently, the thumb to have two degrees of freedom,” Musk commented. “So it has opposable thumbs, and both left and right hands so it’s able to operate tools and do useful things.”
Female Super Robot
Optimus is Musk’s promise to transform civilization as it is today. The billionaire wants to replace human labor with humanoid robots, made from the artificial intelligence software used by Tesla for its cars.
“Our goal is to make a useful humanoid robot as quickly as possible. We’ve also designed using the same discipline that we use in designing the car which is, to say, to design for manufacturing, such that it’s possible to make the robot at a high volume at low cost with high reliability,” the billionaire said.
He added that Optimus should cost less than a car, to allow as many people as possible to own it because this robot should herald the beginning of an era of abundance, especially in disadvantaged regions and communities.
“Optimus is designed to be an extremely capable robot, but made in very high volume probably, ultimately millions of units and is expected to cost much less than a car. I would say probably less than $20,000 would be my guess,” the billionaire said.
Optimus remains a work in progress, said the tycoon. Tesla will work on different use cases, including cooking and gardening. And Tesla plans to build a catgirl, a super-heroin equivalent, sparking the imagination even more.
“Naturally, there will be a catgirl version of our Optimus robot,” the billionaire posted on Twitter at the time of the presentation.
He then added an image with a humanoid robot with what appears to be female features.
The announcement has generated many enthusiastic comments on social networks. Canadian singer Grimes, Musk’s ex and mother of two of his nine children, was one of the users happy to see that there will be a female humanoid robot.
“Thank u for keeping ur word on this matter,” Grimes commented.
Optimus will herald a “future of abundance,” Musk said. It will be “a future where there is no poverty, where people can have whatever they want, in terms of products and services. It really is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it.”
Tesla engineers provided technical details throughout the presentation.
“We’re also going to start focusing on a real use case at one of our factories, and really gonna try to nail this down and I iron out all the elements needed to deploy this product in the real world,” said one of the engineers. “I’m pretty sure we can get this done within the next few months or years and and make this project a reality and change the entire economy.”
Speaking again, Musk insisted that Tesla will be careful to ensure that the transition to a society where robots do the work of humans is safe.
“We always want to be careful we don’t go down the Terminator path,” he promised, referring to the movie about a killer Cyborg.
Tesla is working on a “Stop” button in particular to stop rogue robots.