Tesla AI Day Unveils Real Optimus Prototype and More FSD Updates
What happened now? Last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the company’s intention to build a functional robot prototype by 2022. However, all we got was a man dancing in a bodysuit and the promise of progress. Today’s AI Day 2022 has shown the first evidence of this progress.
Tesla AI Day is an annual event where the company demonstrates future technologies and lays out a plan for future development. While technology demos appeal to any Tesla enthusiast, the event aims to attract new talent to work for Tesla and support the company’s ever-growing technology portfolio. This year’s presentation focused on Tesla’s robotics efforts and Full Autonomous Driving (FSD) developments.
The goal of AI Day is to showcase the tremendous depth and breadth of Tesla’s activities in AI, computing, and robotics.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 1, 2022
Unlike the original ad in 2021, the presentation kicked off with a look at Tesla’s current prototype robot, the Bumble C. The robot, which slowly walked across the stage to showcase the company’s progress to the crowd, serves as the basis for Tesla’s targeted production iteration known as Optimus. The Bumble C prototype was built and operational within six months of the company’s initial announcement, Musk said.
While the Boston Dynamics team may not have much to worry about yet, given the company’s track record of innovating in the aerospace and electric vehicle markets, there is good reason to believe that Tesla’s successful robotics program is not a matter of “if” but rather “when.” “.
The Optimus presentation highlighted some of the prototype’s current and planned features. The 73 kg (160 lb) robot is powered by a 2.3 kWh battery located in the center of its torso. The package’s single circuit board includes all the onboard electronics required to control power metering, distribution and charging.
The package also helps power the bot’s brain, a Tesla-based system-on-a-chip (SoC) that performs tasks including visual processing, audio and communications, real-time decision making, and device security. Tesla used its car crash simulation technology to simulate crashes, collect data, and ultimately create physical structures to protect these critical components from damage.
Several other features were touched upon in the presentation, such as bot arms and navigation capabilities. Optimus will have five fingers and an opposing thumb on each hand, allowing for very dexterous grasping, grabbing and manipulating objects. The visual navigation hardware and software used is based on technology that currently powers Tesla self-driving vehicles. The AI Day presentation included several examples of object manipulation and bot navigation capabilities.
Presentation later shifted from robotics to another hot topic, Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) system. The presentation touched upon several enhancements and updates related to FSD, including the system’s AI decision making capabilities, factors affecting system 3D display, video model training optimizations, and issues related to FSD’s Lane Networks feature. The team claims the program’s user base has grown from 2,000 users in 2021 to over 160,000 users in 2022.
Tesla’s attempt to attract new talent will be vital to the company’s goals in the coming years. Musk says he wants to get a functional humanoid robot as quickly as possible using the same design, engineering and manufacturing discipline as their line of electric vehicles. If successful, this will lead to a low-cost, high-volume, highly reliable robot that can be mass-produced and made available to users for less than $20,000.
Image credit: Tesla AI Day