Tesla AI Day 2022 was a follow-up to Elon Musk’s pledge last year to produce a robot called Optimus that could handle dangerous and repetitive tasks. There’s a lot of synergy between the self-driving technology that Tesla’s electric vehicle division has been diligently working on and the challenges this Optimus robot faces. Let’s take a closer look at Tesla’s new bot and the progress of their work on AI.
Before you dive into the replay, keep in mind that this presentation is primarily geared towards recruiting talent for Tesla. If you’re looking for a bunch of splashy product announcements, you’ll be disappointed. However, if you want a behind-the-scenes look at Tesla and a glimpse of what might one day be available, feel free to check it out.
Unveiling of the Optimus prototype
The show began with Tesla’s Optimus robot coming out for a walk and waving to the audience. The team told the crowd that it was the first time it had been demonstrated without a tether.
The object recognition engine it uses to interact with the world is the same as that used in Tesla vehicles. A video clip showed a working prototype picking up a box at Tesla offices and navigating a busy office full of people and furniture.
A second prototype, made entirely with Tesla-made parts, was also launched, although it would take a few more weeks before it could run on its own. Elon Musk said that Optimus is designed as a high-volume robot that costs less than $20,000 and will be available within three to five years. According to Musk, Tesla factories will test them for their usefulness before going to prime time.
While Musk was keen to emphasize the need for safety when designing this robot, he was also very optimistic about the economic boon robots could bring to society.
Much of the time spent on Optimus involved an in-depth discussion of the mechanics of individual aspects of the Tesla Bot, paying special attention to the individual fingers and knees. “Bio-inspired design” was a phrase that came up to describe how Tesla engineers put the pieces together.
Tesla full of progress in autonomous driving
Tesla engineers have detailed much of the cloud and vehicle processing that takes place for their self-driving processes. Many of these neural networks are designed to make the safest decisions in tight timelines and complicated environments. Tesla is pumping 30 petabytes of footage through three supercomputers to build its model training.
Tesla also said the Full Self Driving (FSD) beta has increased from 2,000 customers in 2021 to 160,000 customers in 2022. Musk reconfirmed a global beta for full self-driving by the end of this year, with big improvements on the way next month, pending testing in various weather conditions.
Tesla also spent a lot of time detailing its custom-built Dojo platform. There is a a lot of I can’t go into more detail than I can go into here, but obviously Musk sees the possibility of Dojo being used for cloud computing to train neural networks in the future.
bits and pieces
The presentation ended with a Q&A with the audience. Here Musk reiterated the need to create a useful, scalable robot as soon as possible. As for its development, he was openly considering the possibility of giving Optimus a compelling personality or having an add-on ecosystem that other manufacturers could participate in.
Musk also addressed politics, support for a government agency to oversee AI developments, and universal basic income in a world where robots do much of our physical work.