Elon Musk has lastly unveiled his Optimus robotic prototype – a bipedal machine that the Tesla CEO envisions will at some point be bought as a “common goal” bot that is cheaper than a automotive and equally able to working in factories and operating errands. at residence.
Optimus’ presentation at Tesla’s AI Day was laced with the same old drunken musk of hype and misdirection. But it surely additionally presents roboticists a very admirable have a look at among the machine’s true capabilities. their judgment? That Tesla engineers have completed a tremendous job in such a short while however that Optimus continues to be extra hype than actuality: a analysis robotic that may take years to grow to be something significant.
Earlier than we dive into the consultants’ opinions, although, let’s recap what we noticed on the day.
- Two robots are proven. The primary, named Bumble C, is a “tough improvement robotic” seen strolling throughout the stage and performing duties in pre-recorded demos akin to fetching watering cans and packing containers. The second robotic is described by Kasturi as “fairly near what’s going to go into manufacturing” and has an exterior cowl. But it surely was solely used as a prop, wheeled round behind the musk and solely proven waving his hand.
- Musk reiterated his ambition to create a “helpful humanoid robotic as shortly as doable,” which may very well be “made in very excessive quantity, finally tens of millions of items” and which might “value lower than a automotive — lower than $20,000.” He went on to state that the creation of such a machine would enable “a future with out poverty” and “a basic transformation of civilization as we all know it.”
- We have got some fundamental specs for Optimus (however, just like the idea bot, it is unclear if that shall be true the subsequent time we get an replace). It weighs 73kg, has 28 levels of freedom in its limbs, and is powered by a 2.3kWh battery that Tesla claims lasts a full day of labor. The mechanical options that stand out are modeled by human arms, and Tesla confirmed how it’s ported to the software program used for self-driving vehicles for navigation and management.
- Within the Q&A on the finish of the presentation, Musk repeated hypothesis that the bot may very well be “like a pal” at some point and stated prospects would be capable to order one “inside three years, most likely no more than 5 years” (though it isn’t clear if he means companies or people).
So, these are the naked details of what was stated and proven on stage. However what do the consultants say? Listed here are a few of his reactions, from an interview with The Verge and judgments shared on social media.
Christian Hubicki, professor of robotics at Florida State College, offered his thoughts in a Twitter threadnoting, like many others, that the Tesla crew “got here far in a couple of 12 months” however that Optimus’ potential truly proven on stage “appears customary (however not mind-blowing) for humanoids.”
In his thread, Hubicki notes that the Optimus bot appears to make use of a strolling methodology recognized in robotics because the zero second level, or ZMP (though this has not been confirmed by Tesla). This can be a methodology of motion that has been used for many years, put in in well-known bots akin to Honda’s Asimo. (When you watch Optimus, you may undoubtedly see the similarity in how his knees bend in a semi-crouch, and shift his weight cautiously from one leg to the opposite.) Hubicki notes that this methodology of strolling is “fairly secure, however. not mindblowing in 2022 .
He additionally identified that one other large query the presentation did not reply was reliability. “How usually do you fall? You may’t inform from an excellent video – or perhaps a dwell demo,” he stated. Clearly, relating to inserting robots in factories, reliability is an enormous issue, as any downtime within the meeting line can have a big knock-on impact.
Will Jackson, CEO of Engineered Arts, stated The Verge The primary two prototypes of the Optimus bot had been “decidedly missing” with “no novelty” of their design.