Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the company’s Tesla Bot on Friday, a robot codenamed Optimus that shuffled across a stage, waved, pumped its arms in a slow sort of dance move and could go on sale by 2027.
“Our goal is to make a useful humanoid robot as quickly as possible,” Musk said, predicting sales would begin “probably within three years and not more than five years.”
The robot wasn’t as flashy as some others, like Boston Dynamics’ Atlas, but it’s what Tesla put together in less than 8 months. “The robot can do a lot more than what we showed you.
We just didn’t want it to fall on its face,” Musk quipped at Tesla AI Day 2022, an event designed to showcase the robot and the company’s autonomous vehicle technology, called Full Self-Driving, or FSD.
Ultimately, Musk wants to build Tesla Bots by the millions and sell them for $20,000 apiece. Take those projections with a shakerful of salt, though. Tesla has succeeded as an automaker, leading the rest of the industry toward an electric vehicle future, but it’s missed many deadlines along the way.
The Optimus effort, while still early, is among the most ambitious in the robotics world given how widespread and capable Tesla hopes the robots can become. But progress is hard.
Rivals like Boston Dynamics have worked for years on humanoid robots but so far have produced only prototypes. More common are robots with more limited abilities, like wheeled delivery bots or Amazon’s Astro, a household camera-equipped tablet on wheels.