Elon Musk’s Tesla is ready to expand from fleets of electric cars to legions of humanoid robots.
The Texas-based company is looking to deploy thousands of robots, called Tesla Bot or Optimus, in its factories and elsewhere, Reuters reported.
Several job listings on Tesla’s website dedicated to the “humanoid bi-pedal robots” or Tesla Bot, indicate that the company is likely expanding beyond factory robots. On September 30, Tesla plans to unveil a prototype of Optimus, its humanoid robot, after first introducing it in August 2021 during Tesla’s AI Day.
The company hopes to go beyond logistics this time. Musk sees robots being used in homes, as a “buddy” or a “catgirl” sex partner.
“Basically, if you think about what we’re doing right now with cars, Tesla is arguably the world’s biggest robotics company because our cars are like semi-sentient robots on wheels,” Musk said at the announcement a year ago.
Tesla’s website lists the Tesla Bot as a way to achieve “full self-driving and beyond” by capitalizing on its artificial intelligence capabilities. The robots would perform “unsafe, repetitive and boring” activities.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In January, Musk told investors that the humanoid robots would be used within Tesla’s plants, “moving parts around the factory or something like that.” He said Optimus robots have “the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time,” and could even be the solution to labor shortages.
Musk has made many promises that have failed to pan out.
Tesla’s Model 3 car was slated to release in 2017, and Musk made a lofty promise to produce 200,000 Model 3s by the end of the year. It would have required producing 5,000 cars weekly, up from 3,500 at the time.
He planned to achieve that by investing in robots and the idea of “the machine that builds the machine.”
That didn’t quite work out.
But whatever Musk did to deliver on his initial production goal and improve the assembly line, robots included, landed the company in “production hell” in 2018. Musk also admitted that Tesla’s use of “fluff bots,” robots assigned basic tasks like placing fiberglass mats on battery packs, was inefficient.
Tesla already uses robots in its production process. Many automakers, including Japan’s Honda, have tried to build humanoid robots, but none have been commercialized.
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