Elon Musk has lofty ambitions, with the ultimate one being doing a human settlement on Mars. While that’s some time away, Musk’s Tesla has now gathered its attention on humanoid robots. Yeah, just the like ones you have seen in countless sci-fi Hollywood movies. It’s even got a name: Tesla Bot. Tesla has also given a glimpse of what it looks like.
Yeah, we aren’t referring to the dancer showing off his moves in the Tesla Bot costume. That was just Elon Musk being Elon Musk.
In the teaser video, the Tesla Bot looks and walks like a human, complete with the hip movements aping our species. The body below the shoulder is all white while the head and neck area are painted in black. As it approaches the camera, it shows its face, which is essentially a blank screen with no face-like features. Musk says there will be a display to show useful information to people.
Tesla Bot teased
If you wonder what the intention is behind the Tesla Bot, Musk assures us of presenting it as a solution to our laziness. He describes it as a “general purpose, bi-pedal, humanoid robot capable of performing tasks that are unsafe, repetitive or boring.”
In a way, this could ideally be the robot slave that humankind envisioned in early sci-fi movies of the 20th century. Tesla will be using all of its learning from the AI team and put it in here. Right now, it seems Tesla wants to get it as close to a human being’s form factor.
Musk said at the event that the robot will be 5.8 feet (1.8m) tall and weigh 125 pounds (57kg). The walking speeds will be somewhere around 5mph (8 kmph). You can also make it carry 45 pounds (20kg) of weight.
All this seems too ambitious, given the state of robotics in 2021. Boston Dynamics is still trying to get its robot go around an obstacle course with lesser programming involved. Tesla promising a working prototype by next year seems far fetched. But then again, it is Elon Musk’s company; so you can expect the unexpected.
But what about the dangers of robotics? Musk himself warned about AI being a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation. “We are setting it up…such that it is at a mechanical level, at a physical level you can run away from it and most likely overpower it. I hope that does not ever happen,” said Musk. Not exactly comforting, but it’s good to hear you can overpower a rogue Tesla Bot, if that happens someday.
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