We knew several weeks before AI Day that Tesla’s Optimus robot was not yet ready. This did not prevent the manufacturer from specially reassigning part of its teams dedicated to the autonomous driving of Tesla in order to rusher the project and have something else to show this time than an actor in a costume.
This is despite other more immediate priorities at Tesla, including the development of more advanced self-driving technologies. The automaker’s current cars are considered to have Level 2 autonomy on a scale of 5. Fully Autonomous Driving would theoretically allow Tesla to reach Level 3 or even 4 – a level from which the driver’s attention n is no longer required in most scenarios.
Tesla presents two Optimus prototypes probably far from the final model
During the presentation, Elon Musk estimated that Optimus could eventually be marketed for less than $20,000. Two prototypes were thus shown. The first is the most successful development platform to date, codenamed Bumble C. Built with parts from Tesla Semi, it makes it possible to test most of the brand’s reused car spare parts.
Bumble C is the only Optimus robot able at this point to walk without being ripped off by cables. Tesla even allowed himself to have him greet the crowd, before showing pre-recorded images of the robot at work at the Tesla car factory in Fremont (California). However, this development platform does not really look like the final robot that Tesla wants to sell.
This is why the brand has also unveiled a much less functional prototype – but closer to the final product on the design side. Tesla has in passing revealed a few points of the technical sheet of the robot. We know, for example, that Optimus will carry a 2.3 kWh battery pack – capable of keeping the robot going for a working day according to the manufacturer.
It will also embed the same computer as the one used by the Fully Autonomous Driving of Tesla equipped with the option. During the presentation, Elon Musk admitted that competing robots (like the famous Atlas from Boston Dynamics) are currently more advanced – while recalling that Tesla’s goal is different.
The firm wishes in fact above all to focus on a product capable of being manufactured on an assembly line. Tesla also has the advantage of being able to share the AI investments of its cars with its robot project. For now, however, the firm remains sparing of details on the side of the calendar. Tesla says production could start as early as next year.
But given the current prototypes, we have some reason to doubt the boundless optimism of Elon Musk. You can also form your own opinion on the matter by watching the replay of the full presentation in the video below: