Toggle Dark Mode
During an August press event, Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot powered by the artificial intelligence behind the company’s self-driving automobiles. It comes off as slightly creepy, but that doesn’t seem to phase Musk. He claims he is forging full steam ahead with the idea. So is the Tesla Bot coming soon to a home near you? Let’s take a closer look at the robot and explore its chances for success.
What Is It?
Sadly, Musk did not have a bot on display during his August presentation. Instead, a performer dressed in a white leotard was used to represent a Tesla bot. The bot-performer danced awkwardly on the stage while Musk talked about the technology.
Musk envisions a slender robot with a 5-foot 8-inch frame. It will be made from lightweight materials reducing its weight to a lean 125-pounds. Powered by Tesla’s Full Self-Driving computer and autopilot cameras, the Tesla bot will walk and interact with the environment. In addition, it will be equipped with a display that owners can retrieve information from and interact with the robot.
What Will It Do?
Musk designed the robot to handle “dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks.” It’s more of a servant than a superhero, meant to do your shopping, clean your house and even tackle physical chores you might not want to do. It’s meant to perform these tasks and navigate the world with a friendly demeanor.
“This, I think, will be quite profound … Essentially, in the future, physical work will be a choice. If you want to do it, you can, but you won’t need to do it.”Elon Musk
Though it can do household chores, the Tesla bot is deliberately scaled down in size and strength. It will be small enough that most people can overpower it and outrun it. Though some of the Boston Dynamics robots are strong contenders, the Tesla bot will not be leading the robot revolution.
Success Is a Coin Toss
Elon Musk is a visionary, reaching new heights in the tech world. Whether it’s re-inventing space travel or creating a car that drives itself, he dreams big. However, not all of his ideas are a hit. Where will the Tesla Bot end up? We need to look at the autonomous car for a hint.
Musk wants to power the robot with the company’s driver-assist software, which doesn’t exactly have the best track record as of late. On several occasions, the driver-assist software caused a self-driving Tesla to plow into parked emergency vehicles. Tesla hasn’t confirmed why this is happening, but the fact that it is occurring is concerning. If the software can’t even drive a car, how will it control a humanoid robot safely?
Publicity Stunt or Promising Product?
Skeptics believe the Tesla Bot was a publicity stunt, added for its wow factor and to generate some applause. Many believe the bot won’t ever come to fruition and, as The Verge writes, is a “brilliant bit of tomfoolery.”
If Musk does actually pull it off and create a Tesla Bot. then it could be game-changing. The bot could become the resident housekeeper and handyman you’ve always wanted, saving you time by doing the mundane chores for you. Tesla’s biggest hurdle is convincing people to adopt the robot. Much like self-driving cars, there is a lot of apprehension about humanoid robots.
When Will It Be Available?
Though the underlying architecture borrows heavily from Tesla’s autonomous cars, the Tesla Bot is nowhere near testing or production. The bot is still in the very early stages, with a prototype planned for 2022. Given the complexity of building a robot, we wouldn’t expect to see it anytime soon.