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Elon Musk shows off humanoid robot prototype at Tesla AI Day

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Tesla demonstrates an early prototype of the Optimus humanoid robot at its AI Day 2022 on Sept. 30

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other leaders from the automaker’s AI and hardware teams spoke at the corporate’s 2022 AI Day, an engineer-recruiting event in Palo Alto, Calif., on Friday night.

In the course of the last AI Day in August 2021, Musk said Tesla was constructing a humanoid robot, referred to as the Tesla Bot or Optimus. The corporate did not have a lot as a prototype to point out at the moment, and as an alternative presented an dancer, wearing a Tesla Bot spandex unitard on stage.

This yr, Musk and Tesla employees who joined him on stage showed off a bipedal humanoid robot, which they said was only a “rough development robot,” walking and waving its hands within the air. They said the robot was walking around for the primary time with none mechanical supports on stage in Palo Alto.

To warm up the audience, which included Tesla-focused social media influencers, Musk said, We’ll talk in regards to the advancements in AI for Full Self-Driving, in addition to how they apply more generally to real world AI problems like a humanoid robot and even going beyond that. I feel there’s some potential that what we’re doing here at Tesla could make a meaningful contribution to AGI [artificial general intelligence].”

He continued, “And I feel actually Tesla’s a very good entity to do it, from a governance standpoint, because we’re a publicly-traded company with one class of stock. That implies that the general public controls Tesla, and I feel that is actually a very good thing. So if I’m going crazy, you’ll be able to fire me — this is vital. Perhaps I’m not crazy.”

Elon Musk previously co-founded (and later quit) a synthetic intelligence enterprise called OpenAI. In 2015, OpenAI boasted that it had trained neural networks to enable a robot-hand resembling a human hand to unravel a Rubik’s Cube puzzle.

Back when Musk originally floated the Tesla Bot concept at AI Day 2021, he said, “It should have the ability to, ‘please go to the shop and get me the next groceries,’ that type of thing.” Later, Musk said robots made by Tesla could in the future be value greater than its cars, and that hundreds of them could be put to work in Tesla factories, where humans construct cars and batteries.

During Friday’s presentation, Tesla employees showed off how the humanoid robot they’re developing might function in the longer term, including with Tesla-designed actuators, that are just like the muscle of the robot, and adaptive robotic hands that may allow the robot to know and manipulate a big selection of objects.

Milan Kovac, who’s Director of Engineering for Autopilot at Tesla in response to his LinkedIn profile, said that the corporate’s experiences developing driver assistance systems for Tesla vehicles, specifically computer vision systems, were helping the corporate work out methods to make a humanoid robot work in the true world.

While robotics experts have said that Tesla doesn’t require a bipedal robot in an effort to put higher automation to work in its factories, Tesla employees spoke at length on Friday about their dedication to the human form. Employees also said they were working on a special battery and actuators for his or her robots to maintain power consumption to a minimum so their robot could work for a full day on a single charge.

Tesla Autopilot employees also spoke extensively about their quest to make Tesla cars autonomous without adding any recent hardware to them.

In its past, the corporate’s Autopilot team relied on manual data annotation to discover and describe objects briefly video clips that were captured by cameras and sensors on Tesla vehicles. Data labelers would discover things like road boundaries, lane markings or overlapping objects akin to a pedestrian obstructing the complete view of a stop sign.

The labeled clips serve to coach Tesla’s neural networks, and improve driver assistance systems that enable their cars to navigate around, robotically avoiding obstacles, with driver oversight.

Now, Tesla says they’ve developed auto-labeling technology which allows the corporate to chew through half one million clips every day. In the long run, a human is available in to “finalize” labels but they’ve a lift from the auto-labeling system.

The presenters also discussed, in great detail, what number of improvements they were making to Tesla-designed chips and data infrastructure. They didn’t say when a self-driving automobile that is secure to make use of with out a human driver behind the wheel in normal traffic could be available to paying customers.

Tesla shows off a prototype of its humanoid robot at 2022 AI Day on Sept. 30.

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Musk explained that Tesla was holding this AI Day event, and showing off its robot prototype, “to persuade among the most talented people on the earth such as you guys, to hitch Tesla and help make it a reality.”

The CEO thinks the humanoid robot “will help tens of millions of individuals,” he said, because if it really works, the world may have what he called “a way forward for abundance, a future where there isn’t a poverty, where people you’ll be able to have whatever you would like by way of services and products.”

In his signature grandiose manner, Musk said, “It truly is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we understand it.”

After the CEO had left the stage but while the AI Day presentation was still underway, Musk wrote to his 107.4 million followers on Twitter, “Naturally, there will likely be a catgirl version of our Optimus robot.”

During a question-and-answer session, Musk admitted that developing a humanoid robot was not precisely consistent with Tesla’s mission of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy. He said Optimus expands the Tesla mission to “making the longer term awesome.”

He said he thinks in 3 to five years, customers will have the ability to purchase an Optimus.

An attendee asked Musk if he envisioned Tesla selling its Dojo super computer, which it uses for AI machine learning, to other corporations. Musk said he thinks it makes more sense to supply a Dojo service, something like AWS, which he described as a “service you can use that is available online where you’ll be able to train your models way faster and for less money.”

Big guarantees

When Musk makes big guarantees, skeptics scoff and his loyal fans swoon.

The celebrity CEO has been promising self-driving electric vehicles since 2016, and has raised billions in capital for Tesla by promising shareholders that Tesla’s autonomous vehicle tech would enable customers to show their cars into working robotaxis with only a software update.

While Musk said a coast-to-coast driverless demo would occur by the tip of 2017, to this present day Tesla has only released driver assistance systems that have to be continually supervised by a human driver.

Tesla’s driver assistance systems, that are marketed as Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, FSD (short for Full Self-Driving capability) and FSD Beta within the US, have drawn federal and state level safety probes, and allegations of false promoting including by the California DMV and a lot of its own customers.

Tesla also has a rocky record with automation in its factories. In 2018, after attempting to automate various points of auto production and quality assurance, Musk admitted “excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake,” and “humans are underrated.”

Tesla is anticipated to post its third-quarter vehicle production and deliveries report inside days of the recruiting event. Deliveries are the closest approximation for sales disclosed by Tesla and the quarterly delivery reports are closely watched by shareholders.

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