August 25, 2021
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, says the company will be building “Tesla bots” that are designed to “eliminate dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks”. Musk made the announcement at the Tesla AI Day event broadcasted on CNET’s YouTube Channel on August 19.
According to the billionaire, Tesla’s are “semi-sentient robots on wheels” so pivoting into creating a humanoid robot is a natural step for the company.
“Tesla is arguably the world’s biggest robotics company because our cars are like semi-sentient robots on wheels [with] neural nets understanding the world, understanding how to navigate through the world. It kind of makes sense to put that into humanoid form,” he said.
He continued; “They’re also quite good at sensors, batteries, and actuators, so we think we’ll probably have the prototype sometime next year.”
The Tesla CEO assured the audience that the robot is meant to be “friendly.”
“We’re setting it at a mechanical level such that you can run away from it, and most likely overpower it. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen, but you never know.”
“It’s about 5’8” and has a sort of screen where the head is for useful information. It has an autopilot system in it, and about eight cameras,” Musk added.
But experts are doubtful that the Tesla bot prototype will be ready for 2022.
An article posted by The Verge shared some harsh criticism against the Tesla CEO. According to the article, Carl Berry, a lecturer in robotics engineering at the UK’s University of Central Lancashire, believes the tesla bot presentation is for the most part “overblown hype”. Berry says that deploying robotics and AI in manufacturing requires making the simplest machine possible as opposed to the most complex.
“I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be doing research like this, but it’s the usual overblown hype. I’m not saying Tesla researching this stuff isn’t a good thing,” Berry told The Verge. “But between them and companies like Boston Dynamics they leave the public with unrealistic expectations of what robotics is currently capable of or will be for many years.”
Critics are also concerned as Tesla’s cars have been plagued by imperfections. Importantly, the company has been in the news recently due to a tendency of its Autopilot software to crash into parked emergency vehicles. The issue has sparked a federal investigation into the incidents.