Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk claims the EV manufacturer has “a shot of being in production for version one” of its first robot in 2023, but he offered few details of those plans. His comments came during the festivities accompanying the start-up of Tesla’s vehicle assembly plant in Austin, Tex.
Musk also emphasized that the robot, called Optimus, will be a support to human efforts, not a threat to safety or autonomy
“As you see Optimus develop, everyone’s going to make sure it’s safe,” he said in Texas. “No Terminator stuff or that kind of thing.” When the autonomous robot project was revealed last year, Musk said the unit would be designed so that humans could evade or overpower it.
The Optimus is projected as a general-purpose humanoid device – 5 ft., 5 in. high, with a screen display for a “head” – and capable of a wide range of tasks, or as Musk said during Tesla’s August 2021 AI Day program, “anything that humans don’t want to do.”
In addition to the display screen, the device will have auto-pilot cameras to scan its surroundings. Musk also reported that Optimus will weigh 125 pounds, lift 150 pounds, and carry 45 pounds. It will be able to move at 5 mph, he said.
In those August comments, Musk explained that the Optimus will be based on the same chips and sensors involved in Tesla’s self-driving vehicle technology, but it is not intended as a manufacturing tool or a replacement worker.
“I think it has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time,” Musk said last August.