Elon Musk unveiled the latest version of a humanoid robot on Friday that the world’s richest man says could one day eradicate poverty.
An Optimus prototype mounted on stage at an annual Tesla AI Day presentation was mounted on a small rig. The robot, which remains a work in progress, greeted the audience and raised his knees.
“Our goal is to create a useful humanoid robot as quickly as possible,” billionaire tech pioneer Musk told the audience at the event in Silicon Valley.
“There is still a lot of work to do.”
Tesla is adopting its self-driving car technology to give Optimus capabilities such as walking safely or working in a factory, the company’s engineers said during the presentation.
Another version of the robot, built with off-the-shelf components rather than Tesla-made parts like Optimus, walked slowly across the stage, pumped its fists and thrust its hips briefly in time to the music as if she danced.
“The robot can actually do a lot more than what we just showed you, we just didn’t want it to fall on its face,” Musk joked.
Tesla is designing Optimus robots to be produced at high speeds, pushing the price perhaps below $20,000, Musk said.
“It means a future of abundance; a future where there is no poverty, a future where you can have whatever you want in terms of products and services,” Musk said.
“It’s really a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it,” he said.
Musk, who has previously warned that artificial intelligence is a threat to humanity, said Tesla wanted to ensure the transition to a society in which robots do the work and people reap the benefits is safe.
“We always want to be careful not to go the Terminator route,” he warned, referencing a blockbuster movie about a killer cyborg and noting that Tesla builds in safeguards, including a stop button that cannot not be altered.
He said Tesla would start testing Optimus in factories, doing simple tasks like transporting parts, and the general public should be able to buy the robots in three to five years.
Musk argued that Tesla, as a publicly traded company, would be held liable by its shareholders if they believed it was not socially responsible.
“It’s very important that I can’t just do what I want. Tesla’s structure is ideal for this.
Musk was reprimanded by the Securities and Exchange Commission after posting a tweet in 2018 in which he said he had acquired financing to take Tesla private, but did not provide evidence or file documents with the SEC. .
Musk is now locked in a legal battle with Twitter over his efforts to end a $44 billion deal he struck to make the messaging platform private.