Elon Musk has stated that a robotics industry will be more valuable than Tesla’s automobiles, and on Friday at Tesla’s AI Day, potential investors, clients, and employees hope to witness a prototype demonstrating that the Optimus robot is functional.
In addition to discussing Tesla’s long-delayed self-driving technology, Musk is anticipated to be the headliner of the AI show, which will be the robot. The world’s most valuable automaker would be “worth basically zero” if it couldn’t operate entirely autonomously, according to the CEO in May. He also noted that the company was dealing with increasing regulatory scrutiny in addition to technological challenges.
Musk said that the event intends to recruit engineers and promised that “there will be a lot of technical details and cool hardware demos.” Musk wrote on Twitter late on Wednesday.
Musk announced Tesla’s plan for humanoid robots at his AI Day last August, postponing this year’s event to August to get the robot prototype up and running, with plans to potentially start production next year.
Tesla teased the bot’s reveal on social media with an image of metallic robotic hands forming a heart shape. But building human-like, versatile hands that can manipulate different objects is a big challenge, said Heni Ben Amor, a robotics professor at Arizona State University.
Initially, Optimus, a nod to the powerful and benevolent leader of the Autobots in the Transformers media series, performed tedious or dangerous jobs, according to Musk, including moving parts around Tesla factories or installing a bolt on a car with a wrench.
“There is so much dexterity from humans that it is very, very difficult for robots. And that won’t change whether the robot is a robotic arm or whether it’s in the form of a humanoid,” Jonathan Hurst, chief technology officer at Agility Robotics, a humanoid robot company, told Reuters.
Musk has said that in the future, robots could be used in homes to cook dinner, mow the lawn, and take care of the elderly, and even become a “buddy” to humans or a sex partner.