Elon Musk has grand ambitions for Tesla’s humanoid robot, Optimus (pictured above).
During Tesla’s annual AI Day last year, the CEO mentioned that Optimus could start accepting orders within three to five years. According to Reuters, Musk also emphasized that the robot would likely be priced lower than a car, possibly under $20,000.
To bring his vision to life, Musk is now hiring additional staff for the project. Tesla’s careers page features over 50 job postings related to the Tesla Bot, also known as Optimus.
These roles, based in Palo Alto, California, include positions such as “Humanoid Controls Engineer, Tesla Bot” and “Systems Design & Integration Engineer, Tesla Bot.”
Musk provided updates on Optimus’s progress in a post in May, mentioning that the Optimus Team was making excellent strides.
Last month, Tesla released a video on YouTube showcasing Optimus’s self-calibrating abilities for its arms and legs. The video demonstrated the robot’s use of its hands, vision, and Tesla’s on-board neural network to sort building blocks by color. The clip concluded with Optimus showcasing some yoga stretches.
The reason for Tesla Bots
Musk’s motivation for creating Optimus appears to be to reduce Tesla’s human workforce. One of the job postings mentions that Optimus will “automate repetitive and boring tasks.”
Musk’s desire to automate Tesla’s workforce out of existence is also consistent with his hostility to unions. Tesla is the only major US automaker with a completely nonunionized workforce. In addition, Tesla has fired workers for attempting to organize unions.
During an interview with UK prime minister Rishi Sunak last week, Musk predicted that AI would eventually eliminate the need for jobs.
However, Tesla might need to catch up to some US-based competitors who have already begun testing humanoid robots in warehouses.
For instance, Texas-based Apptronik introduced its robot, Apollo, in August. According to Business Insider, Apollo measures over six feet in height and has a load capacity of up to 55 pounds.
Apptronik CEO Jeff Cardenas reports that the company has placed one or two Apollo units at each customer site. Apptronik’s customers are manufacturing, retail, and logistics businesses.
Similarly, Figure AI released its first humanoid robot in October. Figure AI is aiming for its robot to not only do repetitive warehouse work but also complex activities.
Image Source: Digital World