Tesla officially unveiled its Optimus robot
A year has passed since Tesla announced that its next product would be a humanoid robot capable of performing mundane tasks, and today we have finally been able to see the company’s progress in this development. For starters, they’ve brought a real robot onto the stage, instead of a person dressed up as a robot (as they did last year). In fact, they have taught two different prototypes.
The first, named Bumble C, walked out on stage under his own power and greeted the audience. Earlier, a Tesla engineer warned that it was the first time they had tested it without clamping or cables. The prototype had no casing and showed its connections and actuators. Elon Musk explained that this prototype uses third-party actuators, which can be obtained in stores (unlike the final model, which will use more efficient actuators designed by the company itself).
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Bumble C’s movements are slow and articulate, compared to Boston Dynamics’ agile bipedal robots, but Tesla made sure to point out that its prototype is the result of six months of work rather than decades, and that its goals are more ambitious. . “The difference with other impressive humanoid robots,” said Elon Musk, “is that these other robots do not have a brain and cannot be mass-produced. This is a production robot.”
Musk expects the Tesla Optimus to reach high-volume production at low cost within three to five years, estimating that the final version, which could be produced in the millions, will cost less than $20,000.
The other prototype, called the Tesla Optimus Unit 1, was closer to the production version, with a new casing and the Giga Texas logo as a belt buckle. However, he was still unable to walk and had to be carried onto the stage by up to four Tesla engineers. The only movement he made life was waving…until he stopped moving altogether.
The Tesla Optimus humanoid robot uses the same computer as Tesla cars, highly specialized in processing neural networks. Tesla showed a video of a prototype (attached to a crane with cables) watering plants and moving objects in a factory using Tesla Vision, a camera-based model capable of segmenting and classifying surrounding objects.
With a mass of 73 kg, the Tesla Optimus promises a consumption of 100 W sitting and 500 W walking fast. The robot, which has 28 structural actuators and more than 200 degrees of freedom, is heavily inspired by the motor system of the human body, especially the hands. The hands have six actuators and 11 degrees of freedom. All fingers move independently, and opposable thumbs allow you to interact with a real-world tailored to human ergonomics.
The fingers do not bend backward, as tendons do in human hands, and the system uses springs to avoid having to include separate actuators for the “open” and “close” movements. An Optimus can load 9kg bags, use tools and accurately handle small parts.
All the robot’s electronics, including the sensors and the charging system, are integrated into the central package, on the chest, where the batteries are also located. The robot has a capacity of 2.3 kWh and 52 V nominal voltage. Tesla’s SOC includes security, Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity, and audio support.
The Optimus uses at least three cameras to see the world in 3D. Many of its technologies are inherited from Tesla cars, such as damage control software and simulators. In fact, the engineers implemented the Optimus inside the Autopilot simulator to test developments like the balance and stability algorithms for walking.
Although it aspires to be a cheap robot, the Tesla Optimus looks quite robust (Tesla showed a video of one of its actuators lifting a grand piano), and certainly more promising than a year ago. The company’s plan is to integrate Optimus into its factories, with the initial task of moving things, before mass-producing it.
Elon Musk, for his part, is already talking about a “catgirl” version and a future generalized artificial intelligence. “The economy could become infinite, a future of abundance, without poverty,” said the CEO of Tesla. You could have whatever you wanted in terms of products and services, a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it.” Promises aside, today at least he has shown a real robot prototype, and not a man in disguise.