Elon Musk is not ambitious. He has some impressive goals regarding Tesla that go far more than selling a few of the most electric vehicles. Unfortunately, Musk is also known for making big promises but not delivering on the promises in any meaningful manner. The latest assertions he’s made regarding the humanoid Optimus Tesla Robot seem to be in that same category.
Musk claimed this on the internet on Twitter (opens within a new tab), which is typical for Musk, Tesla’s CEO. It appears that he’s shifting the company’s AI Day between August and September in hopes of having a “working” prototype of the Optimus displayed during the event.
You might remember it was announced that the Optimus bot was revealed at the very last Tesla AI day, back in August 2021. Instead of a robot, Musk announced the project by having a person wearing spandex clothing perform some extravagant dance moves. It was a move that even the most humanoid robot that we’ve seen so far isn’t capable of imitating.
Musk says that the Optimus robot can be used to perform all boring, monotonous, and hazardous jobs that humans would prefer not to do. Robots won’t require any compensation and wouldn’t be able to unionize.
Other promises include being “friendly,” being able to lift 45 pounds, and deadlifting 150lbs. It can also move at speeds of up to 5mph and offer “Dojo Training.” One day, you may be in a position to enroll in martial arts and then have your thigh slapped by a machine. The whole thing is powered by Telsa’s fully self-driving system and autopilot cameras.
Perhaps Musk could get the idea out of the bag and make a fully functional humanoid robot before the close of this year. However, the odds aren’t in his favor.
To begin with, the research into humanoid robots has been ongoing since the dawn of automation. So far, we’ve not come to anything remotely capable of a human’s motion. They would be a hot commodity if available, particularly for the military.
The most well-known examples are Boston Dynamics (opens in new tab), which has been studying robots for more than a decade. While they’re as advanced as robots are yet to be, they’re classified as very experimental and aren’t flawless.
Musk has a history of over-promising and continues to make promises even when he has broken his promises. The promises are a source of attention for a reason and seem a lot more convincing than his threat to eliminate 10 percent of Tesla’s workers, rallying against remote work, the fact that his attempt to buy Twitter hasn’t gone according to plan. or the horrendous Tesla waiting duration that potential owners are forced to endure.
In reality, it seems like the claims made by Tesla’s Optimus robot are nothing more than speculation, as with his claims repeatedly that fully autonomous cars are coming in the next year or so. It could be called “self-driving,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an accurate description. It’s also the case with the numerous that claimed to have people on Mars within ten years, as a “worst-case scenario;” it was eleven years in the past (opens in a new tab).
There are times when Elon’s promise is kept, and his businesses have made a lot of progress. Particularly in the electric vehicle and private spaceflight industry. However, I’m still not convinced that the robot will arrive this year. Perhaps someday, but certainly not until 2022.