Musk Announces Unveiling Date for Optimus, Tesla’s Human-Like Robot

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) has been at the forefront of innovation for the past decade. It was the first company in the world to unveil a mass-market electric vehicle and has become the world’s largest electric vehicle producer. Tesla also fought back against the car dealership model to sell cars directly to customers to some success and is working to equip its vehicles with cutting-edge software that will give its EVs self-driving capabilities.

In the spirit of innovation, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a humanoid robot concept called Optimus in August last year. Speaking at the company’s annual AI Day, he said that Tesla’s idea was to develop a friendly robot that could reduce the amount of physical labor people have to do.

Musk said that the company would leverage its experience with automation, software and hardware to develop a humanoid robot that would stand five feet eight inches tall, weigh 125 pounds and have a screen for a face. These robots would be designed to handle “unsafe, repetitive or boring tasks,” Tesla said on its website.

Last week, Musk tweeted that the company had finally identified a deadline for unveiling Optimus to the world: September 30. He said that the company’s Autopilot and Artificial Intelligence team was working on the humanoid robot and that it had until the end of the month to reveal the robot. Reuters has also reported that Tesla plans on expanding its robot plans via job listings and increased planning time.

The Autopilots & Robotics category of the EV maker’s website currently has more than 60 job listings. According to the posting, Tesla is on a mission to develop “humanoid bi-pedal robots” to handle boring and repetitive tasks for manufacturing and logistics. However, Musk and Tesla have a history of introducing novel ideas that don’t go anywhere, including battery swapping, robotic snake-style EV chargers and a supercharger network powered by solar energy.

Given the novelty of the project and the fact that Tesla has introduced several ideas that failed to pan out, investors aren’t particularly excited about the Optimus project. Reuters reports that Gene Munster, a managing partner at Tesla shareholder Loup Ventures, says investors aren’t thrilled with the humanoid robot project. Munster said that there is little chance that the technology will work at scale and that perfecting it will be “infinitely harder than self-driving cars.”

Musk isn’t of the same opinion, however; he wrote in the company’s Q4 earnings report that the humanoid robot was the most important product currently in development. He has mentioned in the past that although Optimus will be capable of helping with physical tasks, the robot will be weaker than the average human and could be easily overpowered by a regular person.

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