Tesla is pushing ahead with its plans to develop humanoid robots and actually move closer to self-driving cars. You can learn more about it at the company’s second AI Day, scheduled for September 30th. Expect to see some of the most advanced examples of artificial intelligence technology — even if it will take years more work to mature.
The Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot codenamed Optimus that Chief Executive Elon Musk introduced at the first AI Day, is a likely star of the show. Last year we only saw specs, a mockup and a Herky jerk dance by someone wearing an Optimus outfit to illustrate what the Tesla bot would look like. Musk delayed the second AI Day Wait for a physical Tesla Bot prototype.
Tesla is hiring Tesla-Bot engineers to make not only walking humanoid robots but also wheeled models for factories, according to job ads spotted by Reuters, and Musk is specifically planning spectacular events like AI Day to recruit employees.
Musk himself has worried about how puny we’ll be compared to super-intelligent AIs that pose an “existential threat” to humanity, so don’t feel silly worrying about kneeling to our future robotic overlords bend However, with Optimus, Tesla tries to reassure us and sees the Tesla Bot as a helpful assistant. It shared a picture of robotic hands forming a heart shape on its Instagram page and promised, “If you can run faster than 5mph, you’ll be fine.”
Sharing the spotlight with the Tesla Bot will likely be a much longer-running project, FSD Beta, Tesla’s technology to push its vehicles toward full self-driving capabilities.
Here’s what you need to know about the AI tag.
How can I track Tesla’s AI tag?
The company hasn’t revealed details on how it will coordinate with the AI event, but it will likely be streamed on its YouTube account like the first Tesla AI Day. Musk has capitalized on that for high-profile events for the automaker and two of his other companies, rocket maker SpaceX and brain-computer interconnect designer Neuralink.
What is Tesla planning to do with the Tesla Bot?
When Musk pitched the Tesla bot idea, he said it was “friendly” and designed to handle “dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks” that a human would want to avoid. “Physical work will be a choice in the future. If you want to do it, you can do it, but you don’t have to do it,” he said.
As planned, the 125-pound, battery-powered, human-sized robot will move using 40 mechanical actuators, including 12 in its hands for a “human-scale” function. It will lift 150 pounds and see the world with eight cameras.
It’s harder to build a humanoid robot than a squat machine with wheels. Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot is a good example of how many years research can take. But if you can get one to work, it’s conveniently configured to navigate and manipulate objects in a world that humans have created for themselves.
Expect an Optimus prototype at Tesla’s AI Day.
What is AI anyway?
Today, artificial intelligence generally refers to techniques that use massive amounts of real-world data to train computer systems to recognize patterns, understand what’s going on, and make decisions. It’s a profound departure from the narrow rules of traditional if-then-that programming, and instead focuses on the ability to grapple with a wider variety of tasks that are far more complex and subtle.
Big Tech is investing billions of dollars in AI for projects like Google search results, Apple iPhone 14 photography, and Facebook’s system for selecting ads based on the text of our posts. It’s making steady progress, although it’s still largely used for specific tasks and doesn’t have the all-purpose capabilities of the human brain.
Musk helped found a lab called OpenAI that advances natural language processing with an AI model called GPT-3, and has shown creativity by turning text prompts into works of art with another AI model called DALL-E. OpenAI’s mission is to “ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity”.
What is Tesla doing with AI?
Tesla is a major player in AI. The FSD beta software is an example, but a Tesla bot that roams our homes, responds to our commands, or moves boxes of screws through a Tesla factory must also use AI.
One of the hardest parts of AI is training the model, an effort that requires the processing power of a data center. It can take days or weeks to train sophisticated AI models.
Tesla has developed a technology called Dojo to speed up AI training geared towards capturing video data from Tesla cars. The basis is the specially developed AI processors, thousands of which can be connected to form a single “expopod”. Expect to learn more about Dojo at AI Day.
In order for the input video to make sense, objects in it such as bicycles, traffic light left-turn arrows, and stop signs must be labeled. This is partly done by humans and partly by other AI systems, and Tesla has invested heavily in automatic labeling.
Once an AI model is trained, other processors developed by Tesla in the company’s cars run the model to identify their surroundings and make decisions about driving.
What is the status of Tesla’s FSD technology?
FSD, short for Full Self Driving, is a technology that is actually classified as driver assistance according to automotive industry standards. Tesla requires a human to be alert and always ready to take over from the computer when needed, and enforces its policy by requiring the driver to apply some turning pressure on the steering wheel frequently.
FSD is a step up from Tesla’s driver assistance technology called Autopilot, which only works on freeways. But Tesla has struggled for years to deliver FSD to customers who paid for it. In recent months, it has opened an FSD beta program for drivers who achieve a high safety rating, as judged by monitoring Tesla car behavior such as hard braking or following other cars too closely.
In September, Musk released the software update to a much larger audience – A total of 160,000 FSD beta testers, he tweeted. FSD beta version 10.69.3 The one due in October “brings incremental improvements,” Musk also said.
Is a robot AI more difficult or easier than a car AI?
The same technology that Tesla is developing for cars can be adapted for humanoid robots.
“Our cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels – neural networks that recognize the world and understand how to navigate the world,” Musk said at the first AI day.
But the variety of situations that a robot can encounter in a person’s home is much more diverse than that a car encounters on the street, as are the tasks that we could command it to perform. A robot working in more constrained conditions, like in a factory or warehouse, would be easier to train.